Writer’s block is a common problem among many writers. I mean, it wouldn’t have a name if it wasn’t something most of us experience from time to time. So how do you deal with it?
One of my favourite things to do when I’m experiencing writer’s block is to pull inspiration from the things around me. Whether I am writing another installment of the fictional Tribullaries series, working on copy for a business’s website, or creating content for an affiliate marketing blog, I pull things from all around me to unblock my creativity. After all, don’t they say it’s always best to write about what you know?
Here are the top 4 ways to pull inspiration from the world around me.
Take a Time Out
All of the examples of inspiration listed below begin with a simple time out. Research has repeatedly shown that increasing creativity (and overall productivity) is strongly related to taking regular breaks. Breaks allow you to de-stress, refocus your mind, and recover the energy you’ve lost as you’ve been working.
Explore the Unknown
I decided to talk about this avenue first, because it is the most often discussed by other people. Getting out into the unknown is a great way to spark new creative thoughts. As you venture to far-off lands, or even places nearby which you’ve never explored, you will gain new perspectives on people and places. Though you can always try to create a place in your mind, there’s nothing quite like simply observing a place and writing those observations down. In fact, it is really much easier than creating places in your mind, since you will be able to draw from actual geography and architecture in the pictures of your mind (or your cellphone).
These new places often spur new thoughts and ideas, as well. I find that these things come to me spontaneously and simply could not have popped up in my mind as I sat on my living room sofa.
Mindfully Look Around You
Maybe you don’t have the money, time or physical ability to go out and explore the world. Trust me, I get that. I’ve even felt offended, at certain times, that people have believed I could not be a writer if I did not travel.
One of my favorite ways to draw inspiration from the outside world doesn’t involve expensive or extravagant travel whatsoever. All it really involves in a trip to the mall, a walk down a path, or a moment observing the objects in my living room. In fact, one of my latest stories (the Tribullaries) was born in a local restaurant as I took myself out on a weeknight date (yep, it’s actually good to date yourself from time to time.)
To learn more about how to train your mind to be in the moment and observe your surroundings, check out this post I wrote for Informed and Empowered about incorporating mindfulness into your everyday life.
Dive Deep Inside
Most people will tell you that it’s necessary to break out of your comfort zone and travel the world to find inspiration for your writing endeavors. What you may not know is that much of what you can draw from already exists deep within you.
When I am stuck on something as I write or really need to flesh out a character, I love to take some quiet time to myself and see how what I am working on relates to my life. Personally, I turn to the bathtub for my greatest escape and relaxation. As I relax into the water I allow my mind to wander around. I don’t hold it back, I just let it go wherever it wants. I suppose it’s a little like meditation, really, except that I do not try to focus my mind on any particular thought or feeling. Eventually, I find myself with an “ah ha!” moment where it all seems clear.
Here is what I often find as I roll around in my subconscious:
- A way to meld together the personalities of people I know into the characters I am writing about.
- An event that occurred in my own life which I can change to fit into the overall structure of my story.
- A place I’ve been which perfectly embodies the feel and look I am striving for in a particular scene.