Beat The Block

January 15, 2019

It’s T-minus three days until my post is due. Ideas are swirling around in my head, each one quickly shot down and deemed not quite right for what I’m looking to share. Anxiety has started to rise. My post is usually complete – written, posted and ready to publish – at least a week ahead of time. Why is this happening to ME? Well. It turns out that this – stress, anxiety, looming deadline with only a blank space to share – is not unique to me. It happens to all of us. It’s called Writer’s Block.

To avoid this terrible, terrible, thing happening to me again – and to help all of you – I’ve turned to some of the most creative people I know to share their tips for getting past that dreaded block.

Start Writing

Seems simple enough. And wow, that’s what I did for this post and look at how far I’ve come! But really, just start getting words on paper. Even if it’s garbage, just write, and re-edit later.

Do Something Different

Break up your stream of consciousness and do something completely different to get your mind off the task at hand. You’ll be amazed at how your mind will come back to what you need to do, and with a refreshing, creative take.

Think Of The Dumbest, Most Awful, Just Wrong And Terrible Idea. Then Do It.

Surprisingly enough, this often leads to the biggest breakthroughs.

Get Outside

Simple enough. Breathe in that fresh air, go for a walk, just sit. You do you.

Relax

This phase is crucial for allowing your creativity to shine. It’s why so many great ideas happen in the shower.

Flip A Card

Designed to help creatives overcome writer’s block – and developed by two incredibly creative people, Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt – this deck of cards, Oblique Strategies, is exactly what you need in your back pocket when you have that blank stare. It’ll cost you to get a hard copy of these, especially the first edition, so if you’re tracking a budget, here are some of my favorites:

  • Make a sudden, destructive unpredictable action and incorporate.
  • Give way to your worst impulse.
  • Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do and do the last thing on the list.
  • Don’t be frightened to display your talents.
Keep A Notebook

It’s one of the oldest tricks. The best ideas can come at the more inopportune times. Keep a notebook with you at all times, even by your bedside table, and jot down ideas as they come.