“I'm burnt out,” the thought of every writer who has ever experienced writer’s block.
I've been hovering around the topic of writer's block for a couple of weeks now like a helicopter unable to land safely. There is a reason for
experiencing it myself. And if I have to suffer, well, you know what they
And it does. It
So what do I do
when I sit there staring at the blank page in front of me waiting for
inspiration or some divine intervention to come down and zap the words into my
I sit there
staring at the blank page for a while. I bounce ideas - however idiotic or
irrelevant - around my head and hope that a word or a phrase will stick out of
the lot of them.
And when that
I take a break.
I walk away. I eat something since most likely I have forgotten to adhere to
normal mealtimes – or to eat at all. I go for a run. Whatever I do, I step away
from the blank paper or the empty Word document.
And when that
I have a minor
meltdown. Just kidding, but really I do. Sometimes I panic. What if I never
have anything to say about this topic? What if I don’t get it done by my
deadline? What if I don’t get it done at all? What if, what if, what if?
It happens, and
then I mentally slap myself and tell myself, “Get it together! Just do it!”
easy and clean enough. It is not. Believe me, it is not.
In fact, I just
experienced it while thinking about writing this blog post and about a midterm
paper I have due Thursday. So, what do I write about when the world is my
oyster and I have a blog to write and cannot for the life of me think of what
to write about? I write about not being able to write.
I am sure
somebody who is or was somebody down the road did this as well and is crazy
famous for it; in which case, I thank them for the subliminal idea I wrenched
from somewhere in the depths of my long-term memory.
And when the
world is not your oyster and you are limited to a topic or a prompt given by a
teacher or a boss?
Freewrite. Doodle. Watch TV. Brood. Phone a friend. Ask the audience (in most
cases, a boss, a teacher, or a customer). Flip a coin to choose a side.
Do whatever is
going to get your mind off of what you have to do enough to let it sit in the
back of your mind and stew there for a while. Later, you can come back to it
refreshed and rejuvenated.
something witty or persuasive or argumentative enough to capture your audience
is not that easy. Just ask anyone who has ever had to write a speech or a
proposal, they’ll tell you.
Some people do
not realize how hard it can be, especially if writing has always come easy to
them. That is the case until they get blocked, and then they search for that
“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” lifeline in the hopes that something will come
these strategies or lifelines, if you will, can help get out all the extra
fluff (read, “crap”) out of your head and onto the page so you can get the
things you really want and need to say to fulfill your duties.
So when you get
blocked, remember, you can always say, “Regis, I’d like to use a lifeline.” The
best part of this deal is: there is no limit on the number of lifelines you can
use. The worst part is, of course, most likely you aren’t going to win excessive
amounts of money for doing your homework.