Writing What You Know

The Writer's Ailment: 'Stuckitis'

Three points to consider the next time you're stuck in writer's block.

By Lisa Collazo, LCSW | Posted June 1, 2007 | Updated May 27, 2019

I don't know about you, but the last thing I want to hear when I experience a touch of writer's block is the Nike saying, "just do it." Don't they think if I could just do it, I would?

I want to be able to whine a bit, get a few sympathetic responses from friends, then take my laptop to my favorite spot and at least pretend to look like a writer for the day. I want all my senses to be open to the writing experience, taking in the smells, sights and sounds of my environment. I like sitting down in the corner of my favorite java joint, glancing at the folks populating the place while I play around with words on my keyboard, hoping my fingers will magically create something brilliant and inspiring. If I come up short, I want to be able to make peace with it, and know that I at least gave it my best shot. No worries or regrets. To quote Scarlett O'Hara, "Tomorrow is another day."

I try to look at being stuck as an opportunity, one that gets me thinking outside of the box. Doing something unique and creative isn't always a part of our modus operandi. We crave routine, are comfortable with the familiar, and strive to maintain the status quo. One has to work at being creative when we are enveloped in a rigid schedule of things to do and places to be.

So, when you are stuck in a rut with your writing, how do you begin to move into a creative space?

Moving into a Creative Space

Here are three points to consider:

  1. What do you need to let go of before sitting down to write?
    If I am preoccupied with getting laundry done and bills paid, I might as well say goodbye to getting any productive writing done. I must get my chores done beforehand, or be okay with putting them off to another time. When my mind is free from outside clutter and open to a fresh start, my right brain takes over, naturally making its way to the forefront of my consciousness.

  2. What writing tools bring you comfort and security?
    I like the ritual of having a beverage of my choice next to me while I write. It soothes my soul to have that hot cup of tea nearby, like a friend that I can rely on for comfort. I enjoy visual cues to make my writing space more pleasant such as a special photo of my son or a drawing that I created as a child. Visual reminders of my latest project are useful to keep me on track with my writing goals.

  3. What environment opens the creative door?
    My writing space has to be free of clutter. This can be a bit of a challenge in my small office. When I am feeling creatively blocked, I prefer going outside of my usual surroundings and being among other people who are also working on their projects. It keeps my motivation level up and fuels my creative juices to see others working, recognizing that I am not alone.

Now it's your turn. Recognize what keeps you stuck and make some changes in your writing routine. Be playful, make an environmental change, or add something to your writing space that gives you pleasure. Focus, not on the product, but on the process of writing. Being stuck may be a common ailment that writers face, but it's not without a remedy.

Copyright 2007, Lisa Collazo LCSW. All Rights Reserved.

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