Getting Unstuck, Writing Blocks & Avoiding Blood on the Keyboard Hemingway Style

Confession: sometimes writing can be really hard.

I know you already know this.

But maybe you needed to hear it from me.  Someone who makes a living by stringing carefully chosen words together, linking ideas and drawing out emotions.  Someone who regularly writes 20+K words/week.  Someone who even doles out advice on the best way to bring those ideas together or the juiciest techniques to tempt your prose into achingly beautiful, worthy-of-attention writing.

Even I get stuck.

Even I stare at blank pages or procrastinate with housework and wonder, "what will I write about this week?"

Sometimes creation is easy, it flows from your brain to your fingertips faster than you can capture it.

But sometimes our brains get cluttered and caught up in the busyness of life or the chaos of our emotions or the exhaustion or the hustle and the spark of creation dulls for a moment.

First, don't lose faith - it doesn't last forever.  I promise.

Second, show up anyway.  Keep writing (or painting, drawing, designing, whatever your thing is).  Even if they're not the right words.  Even if it's not what you really want to say.  Or it doesn't quite feel right.  Keep writing.

This is the 3rd blog post I've written this week.  First, I told you how my very first Facebook Ads Campaign went.  Useful but my heart wasn't in it, not for this week anyway.  Then, I wrote about how uncomfortable I am with the label "leader" but how when seeking more visibility I accidentally stumbled into more leadership roles.  And I shared with you one of my favourite leaders for women.  Hmmm, that's a good one - I'll have to edit and share that one soon.  But it still didn't feel quite right.  

Does this ever happen to you?

So I sat down to meditate this morning (it's what all the cool kids are doing ;)  and asked, "What's the message everyone needs to hear the most this week?"  There was no instant aha.  It took a while.

But finally, what surfaced was - sometimes writing can be really hard - even for the pros.

And it felt right.

I have no idea which one of you needs to hear this.  But I've learned to trust myself enough to know that the right words will always appear when I need them.  That as long as I show up and do the work every day, as joyfully as possible (some days I'm better at this than others)  then inspiration will not fail me.

So relax.  Stop beating yourself up.  Stop worrying that you've lost your inspiration.  That the words will never come.  That you're doomed to stare at a blank page forever with your ideas locked away inside you.  Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Write something.  Write anything.  Just begin.  And trust that what you need to say will work its way out.


Top 8 Getting Unstuck Tricks

Just in case you were hoping for a bit more practical advice, here you go.

1.  Switch up your writing medium.  If you always write on the computer try a good ol' pen + paper.  Buy a gorgeous journal.  Or a notebook from the dollar store and get messy.  Or an art notebook and literally write outside the lines ;)  Or do a voice memo and talk it out.

2. Switch up your vibe.  Music always helps me write.  If you can't write with lyrics try some ambient music from Sigur Ros (unless you're fluent in Icelandic) or try out the free trial from Focus@Will which will help your brain get into alpha wave zone.  Or just shake it off & get up and dance.  No seriously. 

3.  Trust it will happen & go get shit done.  If there's a problem our subconscious does an awesome job of making connections and magically coming up with solutions while our conscious brains are more or less on auto-pilot.  Do the dishes by hand.  Take a shower.  Go for a walk.  Or a drive.  Take a nap.  And keep a notebook or voice memo tech handy at all times.

4. Meditate and notice the images or the pieces your brain keeps wanting to go.  Any useful insights you can take and apply to your work?  Or simply ask what you can create.

5.  Do creative cross-training.  I talk about it more here & here.  But be creative outside your regular gig and when you come back to it you'll find renewed inspiration.

6.  Don't edit while you write.  It stifles the flow of ideas.  Add stars to the margins or brackets into the sentence if you think of a "better" way of saying it but keep your pen moving forward.  And let your writing "breathe" before you DO come back to edit.  So your subconscious can do its thing again.  For me, that's at least 24 hrs.

7. Sometimes you struggle because you're tackling a topic that's really huge.  Break it up into smaller pieces.  Bonus you'll have material for weeks!

8.  Don't forget to read.  Gather inspiration.  Magical gems of phrases that catch your eye.  Points you can disagree with.  Fuel for your imagination, your logical brain & even your soul.  Read voraciously.  Read other blogs, read fiction & non-fiction & poetry.  It's not indulgent - it's necessary.


What are your best getting creatively unstuck tricks?  Share them in the comments!! :)