Writer's Block is a very real thing.
Anyone who has had to stare at a blank sheet of paper or a blank screen knows the panic that creeps up when you need to get something done by a zooming deadline, and absolutely nothing is coming.
But there's another kind of writer's block too - one that sometimes you are not even aware of. I call it the "Stale Writer." This is the block that comes when you're slogging through your day-to-day activities, still writing what you need to, but it's not exactly your most inspired work. It's your obligatory writing. It gets you through what you need to get done, but there's not much more to it. Usually, it's the writing that you need to do to pay your bills that month, while your more creative endeavors - the projects that could potentially hold a much higher ROI, shall we say - sit in a dusty pile on the corner of your desk.
That's a very real writer's block too, and arguably, an even more scary one than the blank screen. Because this type of block can sneak up on you without you even knowing - sabotaging your work and your creative name.
I was reminded of this recently when I took a short trip to the very lovely Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY. Now don't get me wrong - I'm very aware that I have pushed aside some of my more creative and fun endeavors lately, but I didn't realize how "blocked" my brain had become... until my car started climbing that mountain to the "castle," as we have come to refer to it. It was like cobwebs were flying away from my head, and as we climbed higher and higher, my brain felt freer and lighter.
When I stepped out of the car and took a deep breath, I knew something was different. I instantly felt more... well, more me! The feeling did not pass once I stepped inside either. As I walked through the doorway into this historic place, I felt myself not only transported in time, but in mind. I couldn't wait to turn my phone off and just indulge in all the beauty around me. This was apparently exactly what I needed, and I didn't even know it.
The next two days were bliss. Instant relaxation, gorgeous views everywhere I looked, a plethora of great food, every type of exercise and activity you can imagine. The weather was perfect, the colors were spectacular, the atmosphere was a constant state of peacefulness. My mind creaked to life and I felt such a rush of creativity that I just wanted to sit down and write until my fingers fell off. As I hiked higher and higher on the trail, every ounce of that "staleness" fell away and I felt refreshed, alive, and ready to not only create, but to push my business in a new direction - to push myself in new ways.
As I sat on the last day on our little balcony overlooking the incredibly peaceful lake, I knew that I had been missing out. In trying so hard to keep up with everything, I forgot how crucial it is to take a break from everything too. The best way to recharge and revive your senses and creativity is to walk away. Remove yourself from the situation. Change your view. Then watch the juices begin to flow again.
Yes, spending money and going away is certainly not always an option. But I'm going to keep this experience in the top of my mind and make more of an effort to take these breaks more often than I have in the past. Apparently, it is exactly what I need to push myself forward in a much more productive way than the day-to-day slog, just trying to get through it all.
If you are looking to break through a writer's block or a "stale writer," then I suggest leaving your tools behind and going someplace new. If this is not an option, then don't worry, I have more writer's block tips coming soon!
And if you are looking for a wonderful artists' retreat type of place, then I highly suggest Mohonk Mountain House. It is a perfect oasis for any type of artist, providing never-ending "scope for the imagination" and nourishment for both the mind and body.
Photo Credit: Silverpen Productions, LLC
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