Hearing crickets? Navigating writer's block

Hearing crickets? Navigating writer’s block

If you’re someone who enjoys writing, chances are you’ve experienced the feeling of being stuck or uninspired creatively. As someone who loves to write, I’ve experienced the dreaded chirping of mental crickets when staring at a blank piece of paper more times than I can count. I’ve experienced writer’s block countless times and in countless ways. I’m definitely no expert, and I still expect to experience writer’s block for as long as I continue to create, but over time I have developed my own ways to remedy feeling stuck or uninspired, so I’ve compiled a list of some things I’ve found to be helpful and hopefully you will too!

 

Get Outside

Nature inspires me probably more than anything else. The sky and its permanence makes me feel comforted, and the growing plants bring me the feeling of potential. When I’m experiencing writer’s block, I can almost always find the words I’m looking for outside. There are a wonderful amount of connections that can be drawn between nature and the human condition, and I love to write about them. And also, as someone who has a difficult time focusing, the outdoors gives me the perfect serene space to notice my thoughts and to build off of them.

Create for Yourself

A lot of the time, with any kind of art, there can be a very fine line between creating authentically for yourself and creating for others. Often times when I write poetry, I write with the intention of throwing away my poem when it’s done or just never showing it to anyone else. If I ever write with the intention of sharing my writing, often times I will freeze up and feel stuck, and my writing will be influenced by the way I think it will be perceived by an outside perspective. I’ll end up censoring my ideas or leaving things out. Vulnerability is important, but don’t subject yourself to the ordeal of vulnerability with others while writing. Write for yourself, authentically with no expectations, then, when you’re finished, you can decide whether or not you’re going to be vulnerable and share that piece of writing. 

Hangout with Kids

I love little kids! They are so creative and expressive and I always find myself feeling inspired after spending time with them. They don’t think about the past or the future, all they are focused on is the present moment and bringing their creative ideas and desires to life, something we could all learn from. I love to do arts and crafts with the kids I babysit. I usually lay out markers, stickers, construction paper, ribbon, and anything else I can find and let them create to their little heart’s desires. The last girl I babysat wanted to make a gift for her dad, so she glued some mini canvases together and covered them generously in two rolls of decorative tape. She told me she was making him a coaster. Who would’ve thought of that? So creative! Little kids help to give me a fresh perspective and the inspiration to express my ideas freely, without concern of their practicality. Surround yourself with younger siblings, cousins, or kids you babysit, observe their behaviors, and imitate their ways of thinking.

Ditch the Music 

This is a big one for me. I love music! And a lot of the time I will actually get inspiration from music. I’ll hear words or ideas that I like and often incorporate them into my writing. But, I also think music, or any other distractions from thinking, can be the quickest and most effortless way to kill any original creative thoughts. Music plays an important role in most people’s lives, but if you’re dealing with writer’s block, try ditching the music every now and then while driving, showering, or doing other mindless tasks. Some of my favorite pieces of writing are the result of quiet car rides where I let my thoughts run free.

Ask Others for Ideas

Having conversations and building on the ideas of others is an incredible way to get inspiration. Whether you find yourself in a deep conversation or just ask someone for their favorite word or writing topic, just talk to others! When I was coming up with something to write about for this article, I actually asked my lovely boyfriend for a writing topic. With my strong dislike of crickets in mind, he jokingly told me to write about them. This article is not really about crickets, because let’s face it, that’s a horrible and terrifying writing topic, but it led me to write about ‘mental crickets’ and writer’s block. So ask others for ideas, you never know what they might lead you to come up with.

Accept that Writer’s Block is Inevitable

Lastly, the most helpful thing I have done to keep writer’s block at bay, is to acknowledge that feeling stuck or uninspired is inevitable— it will happen and it is okay. You don’t need to be at the top of your creativity game all the time, and if you try to be, you’ll become exhausted and your writing will feel forced and unenjoyable. So the next time you’re trying to write and feel frustrated by a lack of inspiration, take a deep breath, put away what you’re working on, and go have a dance party, or just focus on something else. Creativity comes in waves. Try to work with the ebbs and flows!

 

x Nicole Leary