Let’s face it, writing is hard. No matter if you write for a living or just need to get through some assignments for school or work, finding the right combination of words and transferring them to the page can be taxing. Next time you find yourself taking a step back from your writing or needing a break, do something that will help spark ideas rather than getting sucked into a world of procrastination and distraction.
- Get outside. Stepping away from the computer screen and breathing some fresh air is not only a generally good activity to do for your health, but also for your writing. Take a walk, hike, meditate, go running, or do anything in the outdoors that you find peaceful and quiet. Sometimes when we’re writing we can forget about the outside world as we are so determined to get the assignment done or make something just right. Taking a look around you and seeing nature and real things outside of your Microsoft Word draft will help clear your head so you’re refreshed for when you go back to writing.
- Talk to others. I used to think “a-ha” moments were something only reserved for television and movies, but then I realized even the simplest conversations with others can sometimes lead you to your next idea or push you past your latest roadblock in your writing. Whether you ask a person direct questions about your writing or just have a chat about how their day has been, anything can spark a new idea. When you step away from your writing, you leave behind the mindset that was having trouble solving a particular problem or couldn’t get past a part of the writing process. When you allow yourself to have conversations with others, any number of mundane conversation points can spark an idea and take you back into your world of writing with a new frame of mind.
- Take a shower. A lot of people often say that their best ideas come to them in the shower. This is probably because there is very little hindering your thought process - no technology, no distractions - you’re practically forced to think. The sense of cleaning and renewal are also entwined with showering, and most people relate to the feeling of stepping out brand new when they’re done showering, so you can emerge renewed and ready to take on your writing again.
- Go to sleep. If you have enough time to spare in your writing process to take a break like sleeping, do it. Dreams can be inspiring and full of ideas and the notion of “sleeping on it” helps you become removed enough from your writer’s block or hesitation that you can tackle the problem the next day with a better mindset.
- Work on something else. Leave your writing behind for other brain-power activities. Sparking your mind in other ways can strengthen it overall. Solve a puzzle, do some reading, work on another assignment or problem, etc. Just get those neurons firing!
Photo Credit: Chris Blakeley writing in the sun via photopin (license)