I can't imagine there is a writer who has not experienced writer's block. In the days when paper was used, fear of 'the blank page' captured the condition. There ought to be a contest for the number of ways  a writer avoided sitting down to confront this page. Or nowadays, 'the blank screen.'

What would your list look like?
Mine might involve:
  • making a phone call. For me this is usually a terrible solution that distracts me further from work and creativity, but wonderful for that ongoing sense of isolation that occurs when facing the page. 
  • Putting the dishes away. Well, after all, like the laundry, the ironing, making the beds, taking out the garbage, it needs to be done. Just not now!
  • Going for a walk. For me usually a wonderful solution in that ideas begin to flow then. I usually wait too late to take this walk and have gone through all my other time wasting techniques to no avail. When following a more ongoing routine than I do now, I took an early morning walk and then another late in the day when I wanted to make the transitions in and out of writing. Lax as this may sound, it created a structure and discipline of its own.
  • This summer when I was on crutches and couldn't walk I took up baking when I wasn't sure where or how to start on some piece of writing. Now that the crutches are almost gone, I will have to go back to walking a lot as I gained 10 lbs. Oh happy day! 
I think you get the picture. You probably do a lot of the same things. Or similar ones. When someone asks me what to do to start writing, my immediate thought is 'Sit down.' So I sit down at the computer at some point and open my word processing program and begin. If one manuscript has left me blank, I start with another. That may start me working in an entirely different direction for a while, but I usually have a number of things on the go and rather than writers' block, my problem is often focus. But we could talk about that another time! Or not.

What about you?

Posted on October 16, 2011 .