Four weeks into 2020, and I’m experiencing writer’s block. My daily writing tracker looks like a chessboard, some squares shaded and some are not.
Last week, I’ve watched a video on YouTube about the two-day rule. It says that when it comes to tracking habits, don’t let yourself take two days off in a row, but you can take two days off in a week. Since then, I followed this rule to force myself to do the things I should do.
However, a few weeks right after the holidays, I felt a burnout. The assignment that I worked on seemed too daunting. It felt like I have to work twice as hard to get things done even though I have SMART goals to motivate me. I felt stagnant and my creative well empty. Yet, I am aware that I need to shake this feeling or writer’s block off.
Here are some of the ways I battle with this stagnancy and keep things exciting and going.
1 – I feed my mind.
I’ve been freelance writing for years now and there are times when I felt that I don’t have anything new to write or a new way to write old content. So I have to feed my mind with useful content to be inspired.
However, lately I’ve been feeding my mind with audio-visual content than text. So this year, I resolved to read more and be inspired by other writers’ writings. And in order for me to reach that goal, I make sure that I spend at least 15 minutes reading a book aside from reading the Bible every morning.
2 – I change my surroundings more often.
I love my work at home life and staying on my desk. However, working at home for a long time can start to feel like I’m stuck and can sometimes creep into my own writing. My writing began to look formulaic or made out of a template. So I try to change the arrangement of my desk every once in a while.
At times, I change my clothes to simulate that I’m going to work in a distant office. And if people here at home asks if I’m going somewhere, I just smile and keep it to myself. But when really stuck, I really go somewhere else — either to a mall, grocery store, bookstore, or fastfood restaurant — and stay there for a while. Then I’ll return with my mind refreshed.
3 – I literally leave things behind.
It is not a good practice to force myself to write even though I knew that my creative well has run dry. Even with a deadline approaching, I’ve learned to leave my writing unattended for a period of time and do something else other than writing.
It seems that I’m slacking off but I’m not. This is the same as number 2. I’m filling my creative well with new ideas as I seek for inspiration.
4 – I take a shower.
Some experts say that taking a shower can induce creativity. Aside from increasing the blood flow in the brain, taking a shower could help me access my brain’s alpha waves.
5 – I do crafts.
For me, coloring books, drawing, cross stitching, crocheting, and the like, feed my inner child. This inner child becomes my source of creativity. Doing these crafts on weekends replenishes my creative well.
6 – I join other writers.
William Turner wrote birds of a kind and color flock and fly together. Fellow writers know how tricky freelance writing and novel writing could be. By joining writers’ groups like Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippines, I could get a little empathy and encouragement to feel better.