Hulk Smash | My Top Five Ways for Breaking Through Writer’s Block by Jeff Renoe
February 13, 2017
In business there are many things that can scare you. If you’re a writer though, there’s only one thing that keeps you up at night. It’s the fear that the creative well is going to run dry. As a full time content strategist and a wannabe author by moonlight, I can assure you that you’re not alone. I’ve been there, and I’ve broken through. If I can do it then you can too. Here are my Top 5 favorite tips for getting over writer’s block.
Menial Tasks | Put the keyboard down and slowly walk away. Heck, run away if you have to. I can’t tell you how many times I’d get lost in a character or a plot point in my book only to find ideas start to break down walls while I was walking, running or driving a car. My wife loves writer’s block because I also found so many ideas when I was doing something boring like washing dishes or folding laundry. These tasks are tedious, yes, but menial. My experience suggests that this method for moving past a block involves simply getting out of your own way and letting your brain do what it does best: Create.
The Light of a Full Moon | Okay, so maybe the moon doesn’t have to be full. The point is, get out and live a little. Sometimes the hardest thing for a writer to do, introverted as some of us may be, is make plans to go hang out with some friends. The best stories are based in fact so live a story yourself and then find inspiration inside of it.
Real World Felix Felicis | Of age with a safe way to get home? Have a few beverages. In college we called beer a social lubricant. Now it’s often become the Liquid Luck of my creativity. (That’s right. I made a Harry Potter reference. Deal with it.) As the former employee of an ad agency, I can’t begin to tell you how often I mixed a little ‘Luck’ with menial tasks. I’d have a few beverages at the end of the day and then take my fifteen minute walk to the train after work. Thank God Siri took notes through voice command. I mentally laid out three different novels during my many Tipsy Travels and concepted cover artwork for each of them.
Start a New Project | Been stuck for days and don’t know where to go next? Start something new. Last I checked, there aren’t any rules that say you can’t have more than one project at a time. Sometimes you’ll find that two projects merge nicely. Other times you just find that you’ve now got two great projects to work on. Even if it isn’t gold, don’t scrap it. Rereading old projects can spur new ideas. I don’t think I’ve deleted anything from my Google Drive since I started using it ten years ago.
Write Non-Linearly | When you put together a puzzle, do you only allow yourself to work from one piece, or do you work on many pieces at once until they come together? Many at once, right? Then why wouldn’t we do the same for writing? It took me years to figure this out, but it’s become my favorite way for getting over what’s blocking me. If you’re writing something long form, whether it be a magazine article, white paper or book, you probably have an outline in place and know of a variety of pieces of your book or story that need to be written. Can’t figure out what to do in Chapter Five? Write Chapter Twelve. It’s amazing how seeing two points in a picture can help your mind figure out how to connect the two. If you’re like me, it’ll unlock new potential not only in what you’re writing, but in you as a writer.
These five tips have helped me time and again, not only to populate new content for our blog on a weekly, if not daily, basis, but to write a 120,000 word novel. Just don’t expect any of the above to help you with editing. If my book has taught me anything, that requires a different kind of smashing all together.
Disagree with my list or have other ideas that have helped you? List them below in the comments or shout ‘em to me directly on Twitter @Renoe.
About the Author:
Jeff Renoe didn’t learn how to be a writer. He was born one. He was named an Indiana Young Author in elementary school and grew up studying journalism. He was even named a top columnist by the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana. Though he’s spent most of his career in the advertising and marketing world working on clients varying from automotive to education, his real passion has always been for storytelling. It’s why he’s an advocate for content marketing and the reason why he believes that content is truly king. As the content strategist at the Dickson Company, he’s been able to put his beliefs into practice in order to drive real, measurable results.