“Harry struggled to release the stone hanging from his leg. He was sinking. The lake was quiet on the surface, but in the deep waters the turbulences Harry was making with his arms to cut the cord holding the stone attached to his body, were like mild earthquakes. He wasn’t giving up. The stone was pulling him fast towards the bottom of the lake, and with every second that passed the light was getting darker…”
I imagine writer’s block being something like the heavy stone hanging from Harry’s leg in the story. A stone made of a mental block that makes everything dark in the head until it looks like the blank page starring at you: white and empty. “What should I write about?” the writer asks. “Where should I start?” “How should I continue?”
Mental blocks are a piece of trouble we all encounter at one point or another. They turn us into passive observers struggling with an invisible hurdle. I’ve experienced mental blocks. They usually consisted in having many options and not being able to choose one. You can be only at one place at a time, and I sometimes wished I could be multidimensional and live several lives simultaneously — at least for a few hours.
Overcoming mental blocks isn’t easy, but once you do, you’ll get miles ahead from where you were. Mental blocks have the quality of a ballon — the more you want to shut them out, the more they inflate. I’ve found that they appear when I think too much. The brain needs time to process all the thoughts, informations, and feelings. Getting to the “point blank” where you can’t think anymore is brain’s way of saying it needs some time off.
Writing is the only area where I haven’t experienced mental blocks. One reason for that is my approach to writing. Getting involved with my private fantasy world and putting it on paper is one of the most relaxing activities I do. It’s the non-writing activities, like thinking too much, or choosing too long, that get things complicated.
#1 Writer’s block help: Meditation
Great help against mental blocks to me was always meditation. Meditation has an incredibly positive effect on the well being and the mind. Sitting or lying quietly for 5 min. and keeping your mind free of thoughts is the best remedy for turbulent heads.
#2 Writer’s block help: Inspiration
Keep reading books, poetry, essays, watch movies and shows, listen to music. Let yourself be inspired by words, pictures and sounds other people create. I consume art and creativity made by other people on daily basis from various sources. I have a list of favorite international radio stations on my phone, a reading list, and I take tremendous pleasure in watching movies, paintings, and photography. Consuming fantasy produces fantasy.
#3 Writer’s block help: Humor
Imagine yourself distancing from your emotional problems. It helps to see that whatever problem you’re experiencing, you’re blowing it out of proportion. Take it with a grain of salt, take it with humor, and the problem has already half disappeared.
#4 Writer’s block help: Practice
Writing is like sports or any other activity really — it requires practice. Dedicate a specific amount of time every day to writing, and in time the words will splash out by themselves. Sometimes when I write I wonder “where do all these ideas come from?” The thing is that the brain gets used to an activity, and begins exercising it automatically once you sit to write. Practice makes artistry.