The Writer’s Block Presents: Writer’s Block

Many, many writers have had those moments where they’re staring at a blank page and thinking, I can’t think of a single thing to write. I may never have another creative idea again in my lifetime. Maybe it’s followed by, Boy, I sure could go for a chocolate chip muffin (as I am thinking as I type this). I can’t tell you these moments are easily fixed. I can tell you you’re not alone.

When faced with such a crisis, the best advice I’ve ever received is to do something else. Anything else. Push your chair away from that screen and find a different activity, preferably something creative or physical, to give your mind a break. If you like to paint, paint. If you’ve been meaning to plant a small vegetable garden, now’s the time. Is your wrist sore because you don’t have the proper carpal support for your computer mouse? Break out that sewing kit and get to stitching a small wrist pillow. Bake a dozen chocolate chip muffins from scratch, then send me some. Do anything . . . other than write.

You’ll likely find your mind will wander during these activities. For example, I hate sewing, but my wrist was shooting stabby “I need some support here” pains up my arm, which really just added insult to the injury of feeling like I’d never have a creative idea again as long as I lived. I cut up an old pillowcase and filled it with dry rice. I sewed it by hand, on purpose, just so it would take longer, and give my mind time to wander. Right around the time I was stuffing the rice in, grain by grain, my husband asked what I’d be making for dinner. Within five minutes, I had the germ of a story idea, about a disgruntled housewife who stabs her husband in the eye with a large sewing needle. She then dismembers the corpse, stuffs the pieces into a roasting pan, and sets the oven to “self-cleaning.” Had I not forced myself to take a break from the computer, this never would’ve happened.

Don’t force the words to come. Take a break. You’ll be pleased to find inspiration can grow from the most ordinary things.

See? A wrist support can also work as creative therapy.

See? A wrist support can also work as creative therapy.

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