Writer’s block is a breakdown in action that stops us from making progress on a project. A better term, I think, is “idea block,” because it happens when we’ve run out of ideas for how to move forward.
To defeat writer’s block we don’t actually need to write. But we do need to get unstuck and break the block. It’s not in the hands. It’s in the brain. So hit the a reset button.
Here are 26 ways to get ideas flowing again.
1. Listen to music without lyrics, such as a classical station on Pandora
[READ: How to create the ideal playlist for writing and editing]
2. Close your eyes and picture a peaceful, quiet scene.
3. Breathe deeply.
4. Jump for 60 seconds.
5. Do a puzzle with numbers, like Sudoku
8. Hum to a happy song
9. Get up and make a cup of tea.
10. Move your right elbow to your left knee and your left elbow to your right knee 10 times.
11. Pretend you’re in the second grade and explaining the project for Show and Tell, and do that out loud.
12. Write out an affirmation and walk to mirror, look at your reflection and repeat it
13. Read a poem
14. Climb up and down several flights of stairs and do a jumping jack on the landings.
15. Call a good friend who knows nothing about the topic and have her interview you about it for a few minutes.
16. Think of the concept or project as a tree and visualize
what needs to be the trunk and what would be branching off from it.
17. Sketch what you imagined in No. 16.
18. Do something totally different that interests you for 10 minutes.
21. Watch a video with babies laughing
22. Read some inspiring quotes
[READ: 12 inspiring quotes about writing]
23. March with your knees high, even better if done while listening
to band music.
24. Watch something short and funny
25. Stare out a window and let your mind drift.
26. Keep a cheat sheet handy
These are some of the things I do. What works for you?
Becky Gaylord worked as a reporter for more than 15 years in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and Sydney, Australia, before she launched the consulting practice, Gaylord LLC. You can read Becky’s blog Framing What Works, where a version of this story first appeared.