Writer Block: How To Treat It, How To Beat It

How do you overcome that blank page? Learn about writer block and how you can release the pent up creativity!

You have a plethora of abstract ideas and concepts that you would like to explore, and you could do it too, if you only come up with one sentence. Just one brilliant sentence that would glitter and shine like a beacon to take you the rest of the journey.

But brilliance hasn't made its appearance yet, and even a glimmer of a real concrete idea hasn't even whispered in your ear. But if you were to be honest with yourself, you probably already have an idea of what you want to explore, you just don't know where to begin.

You know you are blocked when something like this happens to you:

You decide you would like to write a story about a childhood experience. Perhaps something quite moving and poignant happened, where your whole concept of the world was forever altered. Your mind begins going through all of the memory files, your best friend's face appears, who shared the experience with you. You realize how much this friend meant to you, how you both shared this particular event, and how a bond was forged in childhood because of this event.

You type your first sentence.

"My best friend Billy was a really great friend."

Then you hit the delete button exactly forty-nine times. For an opening line, it reeked. That first sentence didn't even scratch the surface much less hook anyone.

Often your mind is so full of great ideas, insights, facets and themes that you can't seem to separate all of those complexities into one central idea. This is often the reason a writer becomes blocked. It's not that you don't have any ideas; the problem is you have too many ideas. The trick is to hone in on one concept then build from there.

Your muse didn't fail you; she overwhelmed you with too many pictures, sounds, emotions, textures and smells.

Set a kitchen timer for ten minutes and write the longest sentence you possibly can. Close your eyes and write with absolutely no punctuation. Instead use connectors: like, and, but, yet, instead, however.

Here's an example:

"Riding my bike past a field of sunflowers, all their faces gazed toward the sun like a mass of fanatical religious zealots, all dressed the same yet in their sameness was beauty and grace all aching for the love of the warm yellow golden light to touch and nourish them but their amber faces were happy and round and they bobbed as they noticed me free wheeling by on my magic bike on an unforgettable warm summer day"¦"

The idea of this exercise is to escape from the rules of writing so that your imagination is free to draw from your own very personal experiences and insights. Write whatever thought pops into your mind, and try to expound on every idea that appears. Eventually you will discover a theme or idea that you will want to revisit.

Writers are a special group of people. They need to interact with other writers for support and inspiration, as well as the occasional kick in the pants.

If you are not already involved in a writer's group, try to acquaint yourself with one. If your town doesn't have a local group you can join then get resourceful! There are literally thousands of groups you can join via the Internet.

If you are a writer, then to go deeper it's safe to say that you are a great observer. Every artist has a deep well within their mind where ideas and emotions connect to form stories. It is vital that the writer replenish that well often.

"But how do I replenish my well?!"

The writer must spend time doing the things that bring him joy. Perhaps a walk through the rose garden, or going to church will nourish that imagination. For some writers, just spending a day with their children, grandchildren or volunteer work will fill the well.

If you don't have enough time for such nonsense, then your writing will suffer. The process of creation requires a lot of energy, and if you are tired, that will reflect in your writing. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and you aren't too busy for your writing time.

Make writing a priority and an integral part of your daily routine. The more you write, the better your writing will become.

There are a great number of books on the market that deal with the problem of writer's block.

Here are some favorites:

"Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg

"Writing the Natural Way", by Gabriele Lusser Rico

"Writing the Wave," by Elizabeth Ayers

"Writing On Both Sides Of the Brain," by Henriette Anne Klauser

© High Speed Ventures 2011