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Since November is National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo, now is not the time to suffer from writer’s block. Writer’s block is a common condition that can be brought upon by circumstances like financial burdens, strained relationships, depression or perfectionism. Regardless of profession, the failure to come up with results can be emotionally and physically taxing. It happens to the best of us, even F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles M. Schulz and singer Adele.
You don’t have to be writer to know what it feels like to have your creative flow kicked to the curb, or have all these ideas but no efficacy to execute them properly. If you’re reading this now, you may have already hit that metaphorical wall. Maybe your NaNoWriMo challenge is making you stressed, afraid of failure and even hopeless.
Here is what to do in a creative crisis.
Free writing is writing with no purpose. The point is to just get words down on the page, no matter how convoluted they may be. There’s no need to use punctuation or grammar, just write what you are feeling in the moment and don’t stop for 10-15 minutes. You may find new ideas from your free writing entries.
Stop writing and search for meaning in another artistic outlet. Draw some sketches on a scratch piece of paper, paint, edit a photo on Photoshop, do some pottery, play Legos, solve a puzzle – do anything diverting. Continually challenging your brain with creative exercises can improve your cognitive momentum, allowing you to easily slide back to your work.
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You can never go wrong with nature. The point of this technique is to get your body moving; when your muscles get moving so does your mind. Additionally, being away from the bustle of city streets while quietly strolling among greenery is a great way to put your mind at ease. A relaxed mind is equipped to function and create efficiently.
Resist the temptation to check your phone every five minutes. Turn off your laptop, your television and every other electronic device. An LED screen will do nothing but distract you and keep you up all night. Keep your work space minimalist. A cluttered desk means a distracted mind that will not be open to new ideas.
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A popular technique for curing mental blocks, this technique is a multi-step process. You must fill up a glass of water before heading to bed and speak a goal or intention into the water. Drink half the contents, leave the rest on your bed side table and go to sleep. When you wake, immediately drink the rest of the water. Grab your pen or computer (whichever you prefer) and work for an hour straight. It is recommended to do this for three consecutive nights to successfully pull you out of a writer’s block. While many have praised this technique, try it out yourself to see if it provides the shock you need to pull you back into your work.