Writer's Block- the creative process

Part Six

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Having spent a few days looking at the elements of writer's block, I can put it off no longer.  Here are the promised tips and tactics, and since I’ve mastered my inner procrastinator (ish) I’m not even going to go and get a cup of tea first! As I mentioned, there appear to be three elements to the writing process:

The creative process

The writing

The editing

So I have arranged the suggestions in that order:


The creative process – the generation of ideas etc. – is quite sensitive to the pressures we impose on ourselves or have imposed upon us.  As a result, many of the tips here relate to reducing pressure and creating an atmosphere of calm in which to allow the creativity to flow:

Go with the flow

Sometimes it really is worth just acting on a creative impulse and taking time out from whatever you are doing to go with it and write/ draw, sing, whatever is your thing.

Physically separate the creative and writing processes 

If you already have a space for writing, consider creating or identifying a space - at home, work, in a coffee shop, wherever – where you do not routinely do ‘task’ stuff. Have a notebook to hand but don’t put yourself under the pressure of expectation.

If you need quiet to create find it.  

If you need noise to create – go there.

Do something else 

Take a walk, do a single task kind of activity (multi-tasking can be another creativity killer) that really engrosses you – exercise, knit, read a book, restore the old banger you bought years ago with the intention of pimping it up… Anything that will give your brain a complete break from the task.

Always carry a notebook

or audio recorder with you – Never let an idea be forgotten.  I’ve lost count of the fantastic world-changing ideas I’ve had on the loo or whilst driving and then forgotten because I didn’t write them down.  Cautionary note – be safe whilst driving, even if genius has just struck!

Try some creativity exercises 

to get the juices flowing and to develop a habit of creativity.  Pick a random person in the street and create a life story for them. Take two objects or characters and write about them together. Get out some felt tips, play dough, a balloon… Many creatives find that having something to manipulate in their hands can get their brains moving.

Consider joining or forming an informal ‘creative writing group’ where you have fun with writing, trying out creative exercises.

Try this one with a group of people – each grab a book and randomly select a line from it – write it down, then pass it on to the next person.  Each person then writes another line to follow on from the last, before passing on again.  Go round the group once and see what you have as the finished product – it can be hilarious.  I used to do this with a group of song writers eager to get creative and we developed some interesting and sing-able songs.

Keep a note-book by the bed 

In case any thoughts come up during the night.  If you are struggling with a plot twist or finding just the right word consider jotting it down on the note-book before bed, reading it before going to sleep, and allowing your subconscious to get to work on the problem.  It can be surprising how often the answer springs to mind through the night or when you wake.

From Kelly twitter@PresenceComms- A good tip for writer’s block is to just write nonsense for half an hour – anything that comes into your head. Don’t analyse the quality or anything, just write. After about half an hour the good stuff starts to come out naturally…

Another great one from Kelly twitter@PresenceComms - Also another good idea is to write about an object to get your creativity going – ie a shoe for example. So what kind of shoe is it? Does it have laces – if so what are they like? How clean are the shoes? Any other embellishments? What type of person is wearing the shoe? Where are they going with them on? What are they thinking about… and so on!!! Really gets you to a point where you can start to write ‘properly’.

Try different artistic activities.  If you write, try drawing, poetry, painting, and so on.  The variety will generate new connections, enthusiasm and ideas.

There are loads more tips and tactics out there – try a search on Google and Youtube and you will find loads.

Just for a Laugh…

Humour makes a great creative bed fellow.  Try taking time out to have a laugh.  check out this great, humorous speech by Sir Ken Robinson on creativity.  This guy is inspirational, funny and might even set you off on a new line of creative thinking??

Oops… dog being sick now.  Will complete this tomorrow – note that’s not procrastinating (honest) – that’s prioritising!

Next time – tips for the writing process!

Keep an eye out for the next blog.

Dave Algeo

Motivational Speaker on resilience and men's mental health.

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