Thursday, May 22, 2008

Writer’s Block: There’s No Such Thing – Or is There?

You Call Yourself a Writer?
If you’ve called yourself a writer for any length of time you’ve been there. There are days when you can’t write a thing. There are days you fight for every word that goes on the page. There are times everything that comes from your pen or keyboard is CRAP – and you know it. Then there are even those times you don’t want to even enter your writing space; not look at a keyboard and the thought of picking up a pen gives you the “willies”. That’s what might be called “writer’s block” and like it or not, unlike the Boogey Man, it does exist in different forms and degrees.

It’s NOT Terminal
Fortunately, it isn’t a terminal condition, although it can at times reach critical proportions. If you’re tired, depressed, over-stressed, sick or just in a mangled state for whatever reason, writer’s block can be minimized or successfully managed with just a bit of effort and foresight. Here are some simple, effective steps you can take to manage, ward off or prevent the nebulous condition known as “writer’s block” in any of its forms.

Do the Philadelphia Foxtrot:

1. Take a Break – long or short, near or far, change your venue. Go for a walk, read a little, catching up on a novel or two, talk on the phone or chat with a neighbor or family member. Nibble a non-fiction tome on a subject you’re interested in. Watch a little TV or grab a snack (just don’t rely on this one too often or you’ll start to pack on the pounds)

2. Relax your mind and body – Many types of writer’s block actually come from forms of stress. So curl up in an easy chair, listen to music, watch a comedy sitcom or video. You might also try checking out a movie at the local cinema or pop one into the DVD player if something’s available. Do Yoga if that helps you to unwind.

3. Treat the Symptoms and the Ailment – Feeling out of sorts? Is it time for a medical and dental checkup? Schedule them ASAP. In the meanwhile, take a pain reliever for your mild head or muscle aches. Sip an herbal tea or mineral water. Have a hot shower if you feel that might help you to relax and detox. You could even take a short nap if you’re feeling a little tired or energy-sapped. The point is, don’t just sit round bummed out – DO something.

4. Read, Refresh and Refuel – What you might really need is to charge up the mental energy reserves of your writing muscles. Try grabbing a camera and going through an informal photo shoot? Do an assignment or two with a camera or use pad and pencils, markers, crayons or paints to unleash your artistic side. Forget about writing, focus instead on expressing your artistic creativity using other media.

5. Read, Research, Investigate and Reflect – Finally, you can often jump-start your muse and get your writing juices flowing again if you’ll delve into some much needed research on the topics you frequently write about. How about trying to D.I.A.P.E.R.I.N.G. your “writer’s block” away by:

• Delve into the dictionary
• Investigate using the internet
• Analyze an almanac
• Pore through periodicals
• Ease your way through an encyclopedia
• Read a reference work
• Internet search and research through some statistics
• Nip on a newspaper
• Grab some audio and video recordings on your hottest topics to “bone up” on the latest in your niche markets

Yes, most writers will agree that there is such a thing as “writer’s block” but it needn’t be a terminal condition if you’ll follow these steps to banish it – at least temporarily anyway.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, author and speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book,"If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

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