How to beat writer’s block – get in the groove!

The more you write, the better you get at it and, not only that, but you will find your vocabulary improves. Conversely, you can choose not to practice and you may get rustier.  

Like all mental activity, writing uses dedicated areas in the brain. Simply doing it brings blood with oxygen and nutrients to that part of the brain and the connections between neurons are exercised, strengthened and multiplied.  

If you want to run that marathon, you would start by building up stamina, muscle strength and endurance with some shorter runs. You may also meet and speak with some people who had done it to get some tips. Unlike marathon running though, you can stop for a rest anytime when writing and just begin again when the mood takes you.  

The exercise at the end of this article is to be repeated daily and is designed to work the bits of your brain that perhaps are somewhat neglected.  It’s a technique recommended by Julia Cameron in ‘The Artist’s Way’ which I shamelessly borrow here. By the way, I thoroughly recommend you read her book as there are loads of other great tips too.  

Julia recommends you write something every day, ideally just after waking and in a quiet environment. She calls them “morning pages”. If you want to make them your midday or evening pages, that’s fine too and feel free to write more than once a day. If you wake in the early hours, writing can be very cathartic and help you get back to sleep once you’ve downloaded those ‘inner thought’.

You may also find that writing a blog each day works for you. As mentioned before, many books have emerged from blog.  

What happens is that all of a sudden you see that a collection of your writings and musings can be collated into a whole book and, without knowing it, you’ve written it. They may be a selection of short stories or poems. It may be a self-help or personal development book like this one which came from a set of PowerPoint exercises I run in my workshops that I then scripted and narrated for an online course.  

Breaking the writing of a book down like this also allows you to serialise it, say either in a magazine or perhaps in an email autoresponder sequence. 

Exercise: Getting in the groove

Complete 2-3 sheets of your A5 reporter’s pad or a couple of sheets of A4 every morning. This exercise should be done every day in lieu of actually writing your book.

You can write anything you like and here are some examples:

  • Base your writing on your dreams
  • Describe the events of yesterday, especially what was good
  • Describe your ideal day ahead or be creative & make up your best day ever
  • Describe the room you are in–or the room you would like to be in
  • Have a go at the next chapter of your book you are stuck on
  • Write some poetry
  • Write a blog you want to post that day
  • Write a story in just Six Words or Six Sentences

Spend between 10 & 20 minutes on this exercise – or, if you find you get in flow, keep writing. You will be amazed what comes from this process.  

You can find out about the numerous ways to banish writers block in my new book BLOCKS!

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