They say the best cure for writer’s block is writer’s cramp, but how can we move from one to the other?
Escape! Extract yourself from the writing process. Get away from your computer screen.
Focus inward: Look out the window. Daydream. Take a nap. Meditate. Smell the roses.
If this seems unproductive and only adds to your stress, then find an outwardly focusing activity.
Write a letter. Read books about writing or books in your genre. Re-read a book, this time focusing on plot, characterization, dialogue, or whatever issue you’re grappling with. Rewrite the first three pages of your work, but in a different genre or from a different point of view.
Do something creative that isn’t writing. Rearrange your living room furniture. Look at great works of art (like these). Play some hits from your high school years and dance around the room.
Or, do something mundane that allows your ideas to continue percolating. Fold the laundry, wash the dishes, walk the dog.
If part of your struggle is that time slips away, break your time into small, manageable chunks using the pomodoro technique (more here). Francesco Cirillo developed this approach in the 1980s and gave it that name because his kitchen timer was shaped like a tomato.
Basically, you break activities into 25-minute segments, focus exclusively on that task during that time, take a short break, then focus on something else or continue with your previous task.
Breaking your time into short chunks and relying on a timer helps free your mind and can lead to that exquisite sensation sought by all writers experiencing a lull: writer’s cramp.
--Ann Kellett, Ph.D.
Ann Kellett Editing