All writers have experienced it, a period in which we've encountered a creative dry spell. We sit and stare at a blank page or a blank screen for what seems like hours. We wonder how long it will last, or if we'll ever get an idea again.
However, writing is not a race, it's definitely a marathon. Developing a consistent writing routine can create a pattern of creativity. The key is to have writing become part of your daily routine, and not put so much pressure on yourself to create the next masterpiece. Let your ideas flow freely, the masterpiece will come.
Here are some tips to create an effective writing routine and help you overcome your writing hurdles.
1. Carve out uninterrupted time every day to write, even if it's 30 min.
What's my writing schedule? Every morning at 6am, I'm up writing whatever comes to mind. Sometimes it's good, and sometimes... it's not so good. Sometimes, it's just plain old gibberish. The point is, no matter what, I write.
2. Don't edit as you write. Just let the ideas and words flow freely.
Grammar and spelling can truly put a cramp on your creativity. Just write. Nonstop. Forget about where the comma goes. You can strive for perfection later. The idea is to get your ideas down now. Remember, you simply can't edit a blank page.
3. Have a dedicated space where you write, surrounded by things that inspire you.
I write in my office, surrounded by my favorite books. It gets tons of sunlight and my desk faces the window. I find something inspirational about looking at the clouds and the sky.
Maybe, you like to write in the park, or at the library or at your kitchen table? Wherever it is, create a writing environment that is relaxing, calming and inspirational. Switch it up occasionally to keep it fresh. If the space you've created for yourself no longer serves you, change it to someplace that does.
4. Read your past work or the works of others.
Sometimes, reading often and digesting the creativity of others can stir your own creative juices. I love to go back and re-read old essays and poems I've written. I also have an arsenal of books I re-read whenever I need some inspiration. Books by Zora Neal Hurston and Khaled Hosseini do it for me every time, or maybe poetry by Nikki Giovanni or Audre Lorde. You'd be surprised how much creativity can flow from the brilliance of others.
Also, reading a wide variety of books from different genres that are written in different styles, can help you to create your own unique style or introduce you to new writing techniques you've never seen or used before.
Reading and writing can go hand in hand. The more you read, the more you'll write.
5. Finally, get out of your head!
Sometimes, you just need a break and time to think about other things. So get out. Walk, dance, exercise, or hang out with friends. Clear your brain and get your blood flowing!
Physical activity gives your brain an oxygen boost, which enhances cognitive skills. Another great benefit to physical activity, especially rigorous activity, is endorphin production. If you don't know what endorphins are, they are these happy little stress relievers that our bodies produce. In other words, physical activity can quite literally release creative blockage and relax you to get your ideas flowing again.
Writer’s block doesn’t have to be a permanent affliction. Hurdles in writing will definitely come, but with a solid strategy to overcome them, you’ll be able to leap forward and create your next great piece!