Five Reasons Why Less Is
More When It Comes to
Beating Writer's Block
We’ve all had them. You have been stuck for ages at a crucial point in your story, then suddenly from out of nowhere, it hits you. The perfect idea for a storyline or the perfect way to work that plot twist into your storyline. But why did it strike while you were driving your car or shopping at the mall, instead of when you wanted it to happen while sitting at your keyboard?
It’s all in the mind. In your Basal Ganglia System, to be precise. This is the part of your brain that works on problems without you having to think about them. Otherwise known as your subconscious. So those instances of sudden inspiration that hit at the most unexpected times are actually the result of hours of machinations in your own head that you did not even realize were going on.
It may sound paradoxical, but the best way to beat writer's block is to stop thinking about writing. Your subconscious mind will come up with that “Eureka!” moment on its own much quicker when you let it work at its own pace, rather than forcing it to come up with something on the spot. If you can’t fathom how to write your book, or can just no longer string two coherent sentences together, don’t agonize for hours trying to force yourself to come up with an idea or some poetic prose. Get up, walk away and do something else. Learn to put your brain on autopilot.
Here are 5 more tips to encourage your subconscious to overcome your writer’s block.
Optimize cerebral performance
Benjamin Franklin knew how to write a book. He knew that sleep was paramount to helping him contribute to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and to writing his own notable autobiography. He was way ahead of his time when he said that “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
Your mind is most efficient during REM sleep, so make sure you get plenty of rest for optimum cerebral performance.
Go through the pieces of the puzzle
Now, in this positive frame of mind, remind yourself what your goal is. Recount your book’s plot line, its structure and where you are trying to go with your story. What is the result you are trying to achieve? Provide your subconscious all the pieces so it can put the puzzle together for you.
A flow experience for your mind
Athletes spend their careers trying to achieve and repeat flow experiences. These are the times when everything they have been training for suddenly clicks and they produce their personal best performances. During a flow experience, their bodies seem to be on autopilot and every movement feels as though it is being orchestrated by somebody else.
Discover your mental autopilot and your own writing flow experience. Find a place or activity that will help take your conscious mind off everything and let your subconscious get to work. Everyone has their own preferred method of setting their minds free. Going for a jog or a drive, doing meditation or yoga—whatever it takes for you to zone out for a while.
Find a new writing haven
You will most likely have a special place where you go to write. It might be in a home office, at a coffee shop, or under your favorite tree. Try to find a temporary new place to trigger fresh ideas through unfamiliar sights and sounds.
Reminder to self: “you know how to write your book”
Only writers get writer's block. So, if you have it, you must be a writer. Feel comfortable in the knowledge that you have written before, you know how to write a book and you will continue to write well into the future. Being consciously aware of this will help free your subconscious to work positively on whatever conundrum is causing your creative drought.
Now that you are actively engaging your subconscious, be prepared for the unexpected. Make sure you have some sort of idea catcher with you at all times to capture those inspirational moments you expect to hit you at the most unexpected times.
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