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I don’t care what people say, writer’s block is real. We all get burned out even on things we love, and a break is necessary to replenish the creative well. Sometimes you can tell when that dreaded case of writer’s block will happen. For example, I get it every time I publish a book. It never fails.
As a writer for over 21 years, I can assure you that it will pass, and the words will flow again. It might be short or long, but writing will return if it’s in your soul. You just need a break to let the muse rest and restore so it can produce again. The trick is how to stop the panic, and what to do with your creativity when the words won’t flow. Here are four suggestions to take care of yourself during writer’s block, and find your inspiration again.
Take up a creative hobby. I had a friend teach me counted cross-stitching shortly after I published my first book in 2004. Now my home, my office, and my Mom’s home are full of my stitching projects. I love cross-stitching because it’s amazing to watch a picture form out of nothing by following a pattern with colored yarn. My projects move slowly because I spend most of my spare time writing but, as someone once told me, “the time will pass whether you do anything with it or not.” A finished pattern is a finished pattern, whether it takes three months or three years in between writing drafts.
There are many creative hobbies besides writing. You can take up painting, drawing, scrapbooking, photography, jewelry making, flower arranging, knitting, quilting, sewing, embroidery, stamping, or even cooking. Search Pinterest for ideas, or go to a local craft store to see what else intrigues you in different ways. You might even find ways to incorporate your hobby into your writing. For example, I made a scrapbook out of a children’s story that I wrote for a baby shower gift, and people loved it.
Read and/or watch a different genre. This is a good thing for writers to do anyway, and writer’s block is a perfect time to step outside of your norm and explore new things. I got hooked on The Witcher during a case of writer’s block, and now I’m on a mission to read all of the books. I don’t usually read or watch fantasy, so this is a departure from the norm for me. I also enjoy comedy and the occasional romance. These don’t sound like things that a scifi and mystery lover would gravitate toward, but change is good. Start by grabbing a book for review here that’s outside of your norm. You might discover something new, and get ideas for your own work. In fact, the tagline for my latest book release was inspired by reading a fantasy novel.
Take a “Staycation.” I was surprised when Mom gave me tickets to see Cinderella downtown a few years ago because I didn’t know that off-Broadway shows came to this area. That opened my eyes to interesting local events. For example, I worked on the State House grounds for six years and have been in the State House for work-related things, but I never took an official tour. From art to sports events, most cities have a lot to offer in the way of entertainment. Check local listings on the Internet or in your local papers, and see what you’re missing in the humdrum of everyday life. You might be surprised at how much is happening, and some of it is free or low cost (like festivals or minor league games). Maybe this is the weekend to do something different!
Alternatively, you can take a break. Throw out the “to do” list for a day, turn off the alarm clock, and lounge around the house in your pajamas. Order a pizza and binge-watch a movie or TV series. Sit up in bed and read a book (in a different genre), or play a game with your family and/or pets. Sometimes you need to get out there, and sometimes you need rest. Figure out which your soul is yearning for, and give it what it wants. Trust me, the chores and errands aren’t going anywhere. They’ll still be there tomorrow.
Take a class. I’m partial to The Great Courses, but there are several places where you can take classes on a variety of topics online. Writers need to do research, so why not get in the habit of learning by taking a class or reading up on a topic that interests you? If you can’t afford to buy the courses, then look in your local library for classes or materials that you can check out for free. If you’re into sports or physical activities, scout gyms in your area to see if they offer classes or sports that interest you.
Writer’s block is discouraging, but you can dull the pain with inspiring activities to get your creativity flowing again. It’s amazing what sparks the muse back into action. Try some of these things, and see what works for you.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Sherri Fulmer Moorer