Playwriting

Get Out the Jumper Cables

head and brains
Sometimes when you’re working on something, you need a boost. You need a jolt, a bolt of lightening, something, anything to get you out of that frozen state of being. Writers block. A lot of times, when I’m in that state I force myself to write through it. You can’t find the answer if you don’t keep moving forward. Bad words are better than no words.

But what if you’re brain is crying for a break? Raising the white flag? You don’t want to break your brain. You have to know when to push forward and when to pull back.

Last week I had to do a lot of research for an upcoming project. Intense reading, involving Bloom’s Taxonomy and National Standards, fun stuff. I was trying to figure out a sentence to define my process and I needed to read the information to establish the process but if I looked at one more website with tiny writing my head was going to explode. My brain had had all it could take and it couldn’t take no more – so I went to Yoga. I stepped away from my work and gave my brain something else to think about. And right in the middle of a meditation I had a flash (and I know you’re not supposed to think during in a meditation, all about the breathing, bad yoga Lindsay) I had a flash of how to re-write that sentence and the re-write was totally going to move me forward. I ran home afterwards, wrote it down right away and then I was able to get back to work. I needed to step away.

Walking does the trick for me too. If I have writers block, and it’s really blocked, I’ll walk around the block! (ohhhh….. cheesy much? I knew that was bad as I was writing it but hey, I love me some cheddar). But seriously folks, I have solved more plot questions with a walk than I can count. The change of action frees up something in my brain I would guess. Knowing nothing scientific about the brain.

Over at 99u.com there’s a great post about just that – how switching tasks can maximize creative thinking. And here’s one about how taking productive pauses can work to your advantage.

Bottom line, our brains are stubborn little things. Sometimes they just don’t work the way we want, so we need multiple tools to get them to do just that. Knowing when to push and when to pull back is vital to seeing projects through to completion.

What are your writers’ block tools?

About the author

Lindsay Price