4 easy habits to overcome your writer’s block

Photo: Issac Smith — Unplash
Photo: Issac Smith — Unplash

When I just started writing daily, I often felt my creativity was at a low point. I looked at the empty white paper and did not know what to write about. I tried hard to seek a worthy idea to write but my mind seems just blank. What I did not know is that my mind is full of ideas, not just ideas, but the ideas that appeal to me to write about. Most writers write from their conscious which are thoughts, memories, and feelings they are aware of at the given moment. When that information is not immediately available in my conscious for me to write about them, I would try to contact my data bank aka my subconscious mind. The subconscious mind stores a person’s beliefs, previous experience, memories, skills, and everything the person has ever seen, done, or thought of. The question is how to withdraw an idea from your data bank of thoughts. I have four ways to do that.

Crash and burn

“Crash and burn” is a writing exercise when the writers write down nonstop whatever appears in their mind in a set of few minutes without giving any judgments or hesitation of their thoughts. The valuable idea will have a high chance to crash by the stream of consciousness. Matthew Dicks, the author of the bestseller — Storyworthy, has used this technique to find his worthy stories. His rules of this exercise are: Not to get attached to one story; Not to judge any idea that enters your mind, just write it down; and Not to stop your pen from moving before the time end. The exercise will help the writer to generate a fine idea or resurrect an old memory or experience that is worth writing about. You can start by setting a 2 to 5 minutes alarm and writing down what is in the back of your head.

Shower thoughts

Carson Masterson — Unplash

Have you ever come up with the smartest and the most creative (or craziest) idea when having a shower? Well, Archimedes has. When in a shower, you are in a relaxed state with zero distractions. Research has shown that when a person is in a relaxed state of mind, his/her brain will release more dopamine, which helps boost their creativity. Additionally, the relaxation of your mind will allow your prefrontal cortex to relax as well, this could help increase your imagination and allow your mind to wander. Insightful ideas or solutions for a problem you are facing will easily come from your subconscious mind.

The downside of having thoughts in the shower is that the ideas will “easy come, easy go”. To avoid washing your ideas down the drain, try to record them down right after the shower. Also, in my experience, it doesn’t necessary to be in a shower, I can actually generate ideas as long as I am extremely relaxing and in a private space (next to my pen and paper to write them all down).

Meditation

Talking about being extremely relaxed and in a private space, it is not for nothing that Google firm has been introduced to their employee Meditation room and encouraged them to practice meditation. Science research has proved that meditation can be beneficial for creative thinking and improve attention. Aren’t those skills vital for a writer to be successful? Andy Puddicombe , the co-founder of Headspace, shared in his Tedtalks that meditation is not an act of stopping thoughts, it rather be a step back from the busy mind to watch them come and go thoughts from different perspectives. That is how my writing ideas come. When practicing mediation, I allow my thoughts to keep crashing one by one without judgment or holding on to one thought. At the end of the meditation, the very few thoughts that come back to me are the ones worth writing about. The last episode of the Netflix series “Headspace Guide to Meditation”, How to achieve your limitless potential, is the one that I keep coming back to for mindfulness practice and creative boosting.

Dream journey

Some people think dreams are just random nonsense events happening in their heads during their sleeping. I think differently. I think dreaming is a way for the subconscious mind to communicate with the conscious mind. One day, I had a strange dream that I was working in my office and my husband walked in and asked an endless list of questions about everything around the house. I was so annoyed and threw a pen to him to stop him from asking. He used his hand to cover and protect his face from the upcoming pen and somehow the pen cut one of his fingers off. The finger was lying on the floor and his hand was nonstop bleeding. The images in the dream seem nonsense however the emotion of myself toward it feels so real. During the dream and even when waking up that day, I can feel very annoyed when got interrupted and deeply regretful for hurting my husband so much that at some point my finger has started feeling the pain. Thinking about it, I realize the dream has reflexed accurately one of my concerns that I tend to ignore during my awake time. In awake time, I often feel irritated when got interrupted during work from home, but I had ignored the feeling and rather answered the questions quickly and continued to work. Sometimes I even said mean things or showed attitude when got interrupted. Even he said he did not mind my attitude when I said sorry to him, I didn’t feel well about that. The dream was a way that my subconscious mind communicated to my conscious mind to inform that it was not ok to ignore the issue. I felt so much better after a talk with my husband about the issue and we got a solution for that.

The psychiatrist believes that dreams could help to evaluate a person feeling, precepts, memories, wishes, fantasies, conflicts, impulses, and defenses as well as an image of self and others by discovering what the dream imagery represent. Those are great material for writers to write about, therefore, keeping a dream journal daily is an ideal way to get inspiration.

Conclusion

In conclusion, your subconscious mind is powerful and has unlimited potential. If you can find a way to communicate with your subconscious mind effectively, you will be surprised by how many interesting ideas you can retrieve from the back of your mind.

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