What do you do when you feel blocked and lack the inspiration to write or create?
It happens from time to time, we sit down to write or create and draw a blank, the words don’t flow, the images refuse to take shape. As a blogger, I face the blank page every day, and sometimes, the blank page gets the better of me. If you’re writing to stay relevant, you can’t afford to wait for inspiration. Sometimes inspiration needs a bit of a push. Here are 3 things I do to jumpstart my inspiration and keep the words flowing.
1. Have a few writing projects on the go. If I’m working on something too long, I get bored and lose concentration. I find if I have several writing projects on the go, I can work on one and if I start to stall, I can switch to another project. The change to something different is enough to stimulate me and get me fired back up again. So if I’m working on a post like this and find my fingers starting to slow down and my mind starting to drift, I stop and work on something else (for instance, I have a draft post on wisdom, a draft of a sonnet, and a draft post on the 7 types of Twitter users on the go at the moment). I keep a ‘Current Projects’ folder with pieces of writing in various stages from vague idea to bullet points, to disconnected paragraphs. I always have something to work on.
2. Write in small bursts. I used to have to have the right conditions before I could start writing. I needed to be somewhere quiet and with a cup of coffee or hot drink. I needed a certain pen, and the right paper to entice my muse to come and shower me with brilliant inspiration. But I found that having these crazy rituals limited my writing instead of enhancing it. Then I read Gerald Weinberg’s book, Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method, and that revolutionised my writing habit and process. Weinberg compares the act of writing to building a stone wall: gathering, arranging, rearranging, and discarding stones as the wall evolves organically over time. Using this method has helped me keep my mind focused on the small units, knowing that the small units soon add to the bigger whole.
3. Walk and talk. One of my favourite lines from the movie Boiler Room with Giovanni Ribisi and Ben Affleck is where Ben Affleck’s character is blasting his new recruits for poor sales performance and he says “Get up and move around; motion creates emotion.” I find that motion helps get the ideas and words flowing. To create motion and emotion, I go for a walk. I take my digital recorder with me and record my thoughts as I walk. Then when I’m back at the desk, I transcribe the recording and edit. The digital recorder is an awesome blogging tool. With the digital recorder, I basically have 2 options. I can transcribe and edit the words or I can edit the sound file itself and post as an audio blog post. In case you’re wondering, I use the Olympus LS-5 PCM Digital Audio Recorder.