10 Ways To Beat The Writer's Blues

Courtesy of An Adventure in Words

What is the most terrifying thing to a writer, blogger or author?

a) A bad case of writer's block;

b) A total lack of inspiration or drive;

c) An inability to escape from digital distractions;

d) An utter and complete lack of energy; or

e) All of the above?

How does one overcome transcend these enemies to regular and productive writing? Is there a magic pill one can swallow to instantly turn on the author's muse?

From what I've read, the best way to melt the writer's block isn't to sit in front of a blank screen and wait for genius to flash by. While one's muse could serendipitously emerge, chances are that such occurrences are rare and far between.

To escape the torment of the empty page, consider embracing the following habits:

1) Establish a routine and stick to it as much as possible. The best writers out there always have a fixed time to begin writing. Often, this is the first thing in the morning when their minds are fresh and when their surroundings are quiet and serene. Having said that, I also know of many night owls who are most productive in the witching hour...

2) Run, swim, cycle, or walk. Any form of exercise, particularly outdoors, helps to boost one's energy levels and to calm one's nerves. Some of the world's most famous authors like Stephen King and Haruki Murakami follow a regular exercise routine to keep their creative juices flowing.

3) Visit a library or a bookstore, and browse. Always have with you a pen and paper so that you can jot down any ideas which strike you while reading through other people's work. Of course, the digitally savvy could also do so using a tablet or smartphone.

4) Listen to music, close your eyes and imagine. If possible, try not to drift to sleep. Sometimes, inspiration strikes while you're waltzing in your mind to Mozart, or rocking to the latest Billboard hit.

5) Watch a good movie or two. Often, the visual, aural and emotional connection afforded by motion pictures helps to trigger ideas which you could use as fodder for your prose. Good films are also imbued with strong narrative elements and memes which could spark off your writing momentum.

6) Bustle around in the kitchen. Make yourself a strong cup of cappuccino, indulge in a delicate cup of green tea, or savour a sinfully creamy ice cream. Such diversions may sometimes help to stimulate your writing.

7) Go for a mini excursion around your neighbourhood. Open your eyes, ears, nose, and heart to what's happening around you. See if you can immerse yourself in the action - kids playing soccer in the basketball court, aromas from a kitchen wok, or the symphony of cars and buses on the road.

8) Read something totally different from your usual fare. This can be anything from cook books to religious texts to fantasy novels. Of course, you need to have available these reading materials for consumption.

9) Look through your old photos and let the memories fill your hearts and minds. Reflect and recollect on the experiences of bygone years and just soak it all in.

10) Finally, log off from the computer, switch off your smartphones and go off the grid (for a while). Completely. While there are tonnes of invaluable resources online that can help you to write better (like this blog post!), you may also be tempted to wander online from Facebook to Twitter to Whatsapp to Candy Crush Saga.

Do you have other ways of overcoming the writer's blues?

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