That dreaded writer’s block, the scourge of authors and journalists everywhere, can sometimes feel inescapable and if left unchecked, can become a serious thorn in your creative career.
Novelist and producer Maria Lewis knows all too well how it can affect you, having just released her debut novel ‘Who’s Afraid’, and today, as part of our series with AustralianSuper, helping you kick start your creative career, she runs us through her tips and tricks to finding the perfect headspace for writing and getting back on track in your writing endeavours.
Yes, if you get your head in the perfect creative zone you too can have headlines as witty as the above. In the same way you wouldn’t drive while tired and you should avoid dancing while drunk, finding that sweet spot where you’re working at peak creativity is a rare and – sometimes – elusive thing. Yet not impossible…
Look at what has worked for you previously: where and when have you worked the best? Was that in a crowded room, surrounded by people and bustling activity? Or was it somewhere quiet and remote, where the only company was the sound of your breathing?
However it happens, recognising the setting for how you work the best is crucial because then you can recreate it for moments when you truly have to get down to business.
Time is also important. For me, dedicating a large block for writing was ideal as I was able to mentally prepare myself ahead of time to do nothing but pour my energy into a creative outlet. I like to have at least three hours to take a significant bite out of the workload.
For others, their productivity may decrease dramatically after an hour. Maybe they work best by taking breaks every 45 minutes? Or heck, perhaps your schedule only allows for bursts of 30 minutes. There is no right or wrong way, there’s only your way.
Physically isolating yourself is up to you, but technologically isolating yourself is a must. Checking Twitter or Facebook every time you hit a wall or get frustrated may be soothing in the moment, yet it is a time vortex, and should be avoided when you’re in an intense writing period.
You check out Instagram quickly and suddenly five minutes has turned into fifty and that may be creative time you’ll never get back – especially if you only have a limited window.
So there you go, my tried and true methods for beating writer’s block. Admittedly, with something as subjective as an individual’s writing process, these tips may not always work 100% of the time for you, but just remember, you haven’t “lost it”. Change it up, swap it round, come at it from another perspective and you’ll rediscover that sweet, sweet zen mode. I promise!
Maria Lewis is a Sydney based journalist, producer and author. Find out more about her and her debut novel Who’s Afraid on her website.
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