The past year or so I found it hard to write on a regular schedule. I felt blocked, which was hard since writing is something that I love. So I decided to get into the habit of writing a bit every day this month, but not put rules on what type of writing or how long to spend on it each day.
Sometimes I write blog posts, sometimes I work on essays or assignments from editors, and some days I just journal or work on a pitch letter. Some days I don’t want to write, but I feel it’s better to at least practice than just wait for the muse to strike. It’s better to be prepared for inspiration when it strikes by working on your craft.
If you are thinking about writing and feel stuck here are some books I’d recommend:
The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Only As Good As Your Word: Writing Lessons from My Favorite Literary Gurus by Susan Shapiro
How to Blog for Profit: Without Losing Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
Howdy! Sorry for all the silence. I’ve been busy on the personal and professional fronts and to be honest it has caused me some writer’s block so I’ve been neglecting this blog and some other writing projects the past couple of months. At least at this point, I’m trying not to sweat not posting. Don’t get me wrong I love this blog and I love that you read it but this first and foremost is a project I do for myself. I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic and at one point in the book, she makes a similar statement around hoping the reader enjoys and gets something out of the book, but that she really wrote it for herself. I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time doing what others like or at least what I think they would like that doing something for myself is quite a liberating perspective.
While I’ve been blocked on this and some other writing projects that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing at all. I’ve been making notes, scribbles, and journal entries. Most of these I’ll never publish and that’s okay. These writings were about unblocking myself and finding hidden nuggets of interest.
Whether you’re a writer, an artist, a tax attorney, or have some other profession most of us suffer from some sort of block in our professional and/or personal lives at one point or another. Here’s what I’ve been up to during the past few months to get over this feeling of being stymied:
Read: If you’re stuck it can often be helpful to read or watch something inspiring. Since I’m a writer I’ve been reading several books recently on creativity and on finding one’s true passion. I mentioned Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic which is a wonderful book on the creative process and living life as a creator. I highly recommend it. I have also recently enjoyed Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass and Martha Beck’s Finding Your North Star. I also reread Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost. If you ignore the rest of my suggestions that’s fine but please do yourself a favor and read everything Ms. Solnit has ever written.
Get Moving: I run and do yoga which I still love. You don’t need to be a gym rat…because lord knows I’m not to get moving. I find taking a walk in the park or even just around the block when I’m strapped for time helps lift my mood and clear my head. I also recently took a Feldenkrais class. It wasn’t really about breaking a sweat. It is much less intense than yoga or pilates but it is great for learning more about your flexibility and equilibrium.
Meditate: Meditation is less about visualizations for me and more about getting my mind to quiet down. I’m lucky enough to work in an office with a weekly meditation group and one of my yoga instructors does a Yoga Nidrameditationn after her class which is a wonderful way to wind down on a weekday evening. I also listen to some guided meditations at home particularly around sleep because I’m a hyperactive sleeper and have found this to be a great tool for helping me get more shut eye. There are a lot of different apps out there on mindfulness and meditating. I personally have been using Insight Timer on iOS. It has recorded guided meditations and a timer if you’re practicing a different meditation on your own.
Journal: You don’t have to be an elegant writer to keep a journal. You actually don’t have to write period. Aside from keeping a traditional diary I also keep a visual journal. I cut out quotes and images from magazines that inspire or spark something in me and paste them into a blank book that I go back and flip through when I’m feeling stuck.
What do you do to get past blockers in your life?