What exercises help you overcome writer's block?

30 replies
Fellow Warriors,

I was wondering what exercises help you overcome writer's block. They could be pen and paper exercises, computer "writing" exercises, physical exercises or spiritual exercises. What helps you get back to being focused and productive?

I appreciate your time.

All the Best,

Rich
#block #exercises #overcome #writer
  • Profile picture of the author WinstonT
    I usually take a jog, really relaxes your mind and all.

    What kind of writer's block? Another very good way to force through it is to read some swipe files from legendary marketers such as John Calton, or force yourself to follow a specific template each time you write (which is what most copywriters do anyway).

    Focused, i might take a small nap. Naps work wonders.
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    • Profile picture of the author Drez
      A walk around the block ...

      I find that when I'm walking ... relaxing ... and enjoying the surroundings (I live in a somewhat wooded area) ... ideas just "come" to me.

      Of course I ALWAYS have my trusty little notebook to jot them down!
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      • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
        Originally Posted by Drez View Post

        A walk around the block ...

        I find that when I'm walking ... relaxing ... and enjoying the surroundings (I live in a somewhat wooded area) ... ideas just "come" to me.

        Of course I ALWAYS have my trusty little notebook to jot them down!
        Drez,

        I like your walking in the woods approach. It is a great way to clear your mind. I, too, keep a notebook handy at all times.

        Thanks,

        Rich
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    • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
      Originally Posted by WinstonT View Post

      I usually take a jog, really relaxes your mind and all.

      What kind of writer's block? Another very good way to force through it is to read some swipe files from legendary marketers such as John Calton, or force yourself to follow a specific template each time you write (which is what most copywriters do anyway).

      Focused, i might take a small nap. Naps work wonders.
      WinstonT,

      I appreciate your insight.

      I am thinking about the situation where you have your main topic. You should be ready to let the ideas flow. Instead, you feel mentally frozen and unable to write a word.

      You bring up an awesome point. Reading the great writers' works is always inspiring to me.

      You also bring up a project I had pondered a while back - Creating a "Master Library" of Swipe Files for writers. Do you know if there already is a web site like this?

      All the Best,

      Rich
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    When I need to recharge the batteries I pick up the guitar and play for awhile. Or, I might go for a walk, play with the pets, anything. The worst thing you can do when you're stuck is "try" to get unstuck.

    In my experience it's best to get away from the writing and become absorbed in something else. And before you know it, you'll get the idea you needed to get back to writing, fully recharged.
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    • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      When I need to recharge the batteries I pick up the guitar and play for awhile. Or, I might go for a walk, play with the pets, anything. The worst thing you can do when you're stuck is "try" to get unstuck.

      In my experience it's best to get away from the writing and become absorbed in something else. And before you know it, you'll get the idea you needed to get back to writing, fully recharged.
      travlinguy,

      Great points! I like to beat on my drums for a while. Too many times, I try to push through it. It does not work too well. Getting away and focusing on something else is a great strategy.

      All the Best,

      Rich
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  • Profile picture of the author oneplusone
    Forums are a good place to stimulate your writing brain cells, see if you can write 20-30 decent posts in an hour on here say, while trying not to sacrifice post quality while doing it.

    Then when you go and write your article or whatever it should be much easier as you've already got momentum.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chri5123
    Hi Rich,

    Great post!

    I used to take time off for a couple of hours but never really felt any better when I got back the block was still there.

    I find that working throuh it is better, as once you have done so you feel a lot better and then get to really relax.

    So I make a note of the bullet points that I want to cover - have a relook through them seeing which ones I have covered and then crack on.

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author Zabrina
    Get off the computer for an hour. If you're desperate for time, fifteen minutes.

    --Go for a walk in a park or around the block
    --Do the dishes
    --Pet, groom, play with, feed your cat/dog/snake
    --Clean a room out
    --Knit, sew, or do any other type of craft
    --Work out
    --Meditate
    --Anything else that requires more physical work and less mental work

    Just don't veg in front of the TV or computer. Absolutely not allowed.

    Then, go back to the computer. Set a timer for five minutes. Start it. Write for that entire five minutes without stopping. If you can't think of anything to write, write whatever you're thinking about, what's around you in your room, what you did this morning... anything at all. Just keep writing for the entire period of time.

    Then take a two-minute break, stretch, work the tension out of your muscles.

    Set a fifteen-minute timer on the project you're working on, and write on it for that entire time. Even if what you're writing is garbage.

    If you're inspired and motivated now, keep writing.

    If not, shut down the computer for the day and challenge yourself not to use your cell, computer, or TV. Have a technology-free day. Tomorrow will be better.
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    • Profile picture of the author Brian Clark
      Originally Posted by Zabrina View Post

      Then, go back to the computer. Set a timer for five minutes. Start it. Write for that entire five minutes without stopping. If you can't think of anything to write, write whatever you're thinking about, what's around you in your room, what you did this morning... anything at all. Just keep writing for the entire period of time.

      Then take a two-minute break, stretch, work the tension out of your muscles.

      Set a fifteen-minute timer on the project you're working on, and write on it for that entire time. Even if what you're writing is garbage.

      If you're inspired and motivated now, keep writing.

      If not, shut down the computer for the day and challenge yourself not to use your cell, computer, or TV. Have a technology-free day. Tomorrow will be better.
      This is great advice. I use a timer from time to time, and I'm amazed at what comes out when I finish typing. Yeah, it's filled with spelling and grammar errors, but it's the "authentic you" that comes out when you write. I hope that doesn't sound too corny, but this technique has really helped me to get past some of the barriers I put up for myself.
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  • Profile picture of the author allenjohn
    Sit in the chair and don't get up until I've written something. Works for me Regards Allen
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Dybka
      Get away from the computer for a while,go outside and get some fresh air,if you have kids go play with them for a while,if you have pets go play with them,that usually work for me.


      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        I often deliberately leave something unfinished, sometimes with a long, complicated sentence incomplete, which helps me to be able to "get back into it", by having something on which to concentrate, next time I ...
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          For me, "writer's block" generally takes two forms.

          The first is usually caused by having too much information and not seeing how it all fits together. I can usually cure this by spending some time reviewing the information, then doing something else (like going fishing ). This gives my subconscious time to process everything. When I sit down to write again, I just start doing a brain dump until there's nothing left. Now it's not writing, it's editing.

          The second is sometimes referred to as the blank page blues. This is the one you just power through by writing anything that enters your stream of consciousness. Don't worry about organization, spelling, grammar, etc. At some point, something should jump out at you, and you're off to the races...
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          • Profile picture of the author Zabrina
            Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

            For me, "writer's block" generally takes two forms.

            The first is usually caused by having too much information and not seeing how it all fits together. I can usually cure this by spending some time reviewing the information, then doing something else (like going fishing ). This gives my subconscious time to process everything. When I sit down to write again, I just start doing a brain dump until there's nothing left. Now it's not writing, it's editing.

            The second is sometimes referred to as the blank page blues. This is the one you just power through by writing anything that enters your stream of consciousness. Don't worry about organization, spelling, grammar, etc. At some point, something should jump out at you, and you're off to the races...
            I think that's a good summary of the two types of writer's block. That's why I like to combine time away from the computer and forcing myself to write, as I posted above... if I'm not sure which type of block I'm experiencing, it doesn't matter. Otherwise I end up pondering over which type it is and how to fix it. :p
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        • Profile picture of the author WebPen
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          I often deliberately leave something unfinished, sometimes with a long, complicated sentence incomplete, which helps me to be able to "get back into it", by having something on which to concentrate, next time I ...
          I read that, went down to reply to the thread, then went back up to realize this was just ONE sentence.

          Kudos to Alexa!

          Definitely seems like the majority of people here get some form of exercise... which is what I do too.
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    • Profile picture of the author RichBeck
      Originally Posted by allenjohn View Post

      Sit in the chair and don't get up until I've written something. Works for me Regards Allen
      Allen,

      That is an interesting approach!

      All the Best,

      Rich
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  • Profile picture of the author ginak59
    Things always click when I take a break and walk my dog. Usually, there's lots of stored up info from researching. this seems to be released when I go for a walk. I also have a few books on writing prompts which are great for getting started:

    1. The Playful Way to Serious Writing by Roberta Allen
    2. 1000 creative writing prompts by Bryan Cohen

    Hope that helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author The Simpleton
    A lot of people advise writers to keep away from writing for a while, but as per my personal experience, the true method of dealing with writer's block is to keep writing! You might want to change your subject though; try writing about something else, something that you like, or else simply take a pen and paper and jot down whatever silly thoughts come to your mind. This really gives your mind a break, and guess what - whenever I feel that I'm coming down with the writers block, I simply apply this technique, and Im usually back at work within half-an-hour
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesW
    I always come up with loads of ideas whenever I go on a long country walk without consciously trying to do so.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Just kick back and read some of the old classics. That generally re-ignites the flame for inspiration and ideas.

      A mighty flame follows a tiny spark.
      - Dante Alighieri
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Cole
    It seems most people here have the same basic remedy for writer's block.
    What I do is a little keyword research and then walk the dog a few miles, the dog loves it and it usually shakes a few ideas loose.
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  • Profile picture of the author O0o0O
    One way to do it is to do research on the topic, and then sit back and summarize in your head what you just read about. That summary, written down in your own words, is your article.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    Write bullets...

    It's a cheap, easy win - because they're so simple to write...

    And really, can you ever have too many bullets?

    Plus - writing bullets will often drag a new hook or subhead out of your subconscious..

    ...and that gets you EXCITED again!
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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    Originally Posted by RichBeck View Post

    Fellow Warriors,

    I was wondering what exercises help you overcome writer's block. They could be pen and paper exercises, computer "writing" exercises, physical exercises or spiritual exercises. What helps you get back to being focused and productive?

    I appreciate your time.

    All the Best,

    Rich
    Please do not laugh at me, but I take a shower, It funny the many thoughts when you are steamed up and soapy singing.

    I came up with a 3k laugh over night from one long hot shower.

    Do that! Or try this, it somehow gets the brain buzzing. Maybe just because you are relaxed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andy Kobe
    A good nap!
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  • Profile picture of the author pmbrent
    I find that driving gets my cognitive wheels turning. I also listen to classical music to mellow out and relax the brain.
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