Writers Block: A Helpful Hint For You

Many of us have to write on occasion.  Perhaps this is at work.  Perhaps this is you, and you are under the pressure of a deadline.  And there you sit, mind blank, trying to write something.

Here’s a little trick I learned many years ago.  I have been free of writers block ever since.

I learned this in an English composition course from a young English teacher.  She was one of those bouncy, always upbeat and positive types of personalities.  We all liked her and kiddingly called her the “Fluffy Little English Teacher,” although not to her face.  We’ll call her Jill for now.

I came to appreciate the real substance and value of Jill’s advice – then and through the years to follow.

She had us write for ten minutes EVERY night for the entire semester.  That was on top of our weekly paper we had to write and read to the class.  And we had to do the weekly writing because she collected it every week.

Her advice was great on how to do this.  She said, “If you can’t think of anything to write, then write, ‘I can’t think of anything to write.’”  And keep writing that until your ten minutes is up.

An amazing thing happens when you do this.  Your mind will get bored with that and kick in with ideas.

For example, you start like this … I can’t think of anything to write.  I can’t think of anything to write.   This is boring.  I wonder about boredom.  Does boredom affect many people.  I wonder if Abraham Lincoln was ever bored.  I wonder if he was bored writing the Gettysburg address.  This week we will celebrate his birthday.  Hmmm … I’ll write about that.  So, this week in February, we will celebrate Abe Lincoln’s birthday.  One of the things he is most famous for is the Gettysburg address.  This speech which he gave to dedicate a new cemetery, is known for its brevity.  The speech is only ten sentences long …

You see what happened there?  All of a sudden I’m writing about Abraham Lincoln — not a bad topic, actually.  Just by starting to write, your brain comes up with ideas – out of boredom.

There is a real brain / body connection we all have.  We are used to working with it when our brain is telling us what action to take.  But you can put that process in reverse also.  You can start acting, which causes your brain to start working and evaluating what you are doing, and soon the ideas begin to flow.

I realize this is a chicken and egg phenomenon I’m describing but it really works.

Try it.  Here you go … I can’t think of anything to write, I can’t think of anything to write … please continue.

And have a writer’s block-free day – J. Daniel

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