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You’ve sharpened your pencil, read your inspirational quote of the day and even cleaned your office … yet, as you sit down and once again try to start writing, the words just won’t come. It’s not called writer’s block for no reason: When the words just don’t come, it can feel like you’re hitting a barrier the size and strength of the Great Wall of China.
You’ve probably heard of plenty “quick fixes” for the struggling writer, ranging from ditching your notepad for a short stroll outside to transforming your mindset, techniques and abilities when you approach your craft. Even though particular procedures may work for some writers they may not work for others. Bottom line? Beating writer’s block requires that you, as a writer, listen to yourself and your needs and keep trying various methods until you find the one that works.
One remedy that you probably haven’t tried? Signing up for an acting class.
READ MORE: The Art of Dealing With Writer’s Block
Writer’s block often occurs when writers are stuck on their characters, their characters’ actions and the resulting storylines. Have you ever found yourself reading the dialogue you’ve written out loud to make sure it sounds natural? Or perhaps you’ve pictured yourself as one of your characters (while keeping her background and personality in mind) to try to figure out how she would react to a certain plot point?
In a Yale University study during the 1970s and 1980s, psychologists explored the concept of writer’s block using struggling wordsmiths. The results? These blocked writers were “less able to form pictures in their minds, and the pictures they did form were less vivid,” according to The New Yorker. As a performance art, acting can help writers channel creativity in a new way.
Method acting may be the best way to access that missing creativity and develop those allusive characters. Method acting requires actors to fully embody the emotions, subconscious and mentality of their characters in order to determine how and why characters act as they do. Writer’s Digest suggests method acting could help “learn what your characters want and feel.”
Taking an acting class focused on this skill can prove incredibly useful for those experiencing writer’s block. Method acting forces you to delve into your own story and characters and test your writing in physical form, giving you a different perspective than that of an omniscient and omnipotent creator.
Maybe you’ll discover that what you’ve written isn’t practical in the setting you’ve devised and changing the setting – or the plot – is your wrecking ball for writer’s block. In fact, a better understanding of how your characters function could fix your present writer’s block and prevent future ones.
So the next time you’re staring at a piece of paper or a word document with nothing to say, act it out in class instead. The best part? Even if an acting class isn’t your magic cure, you could still score some Angelina Jolie skills in the meantime.