How to Break Writer’s Block

First of all: Don’t call it that. “Writers Block” is the giant black cube that’s sitting across the room, staring at you with its nothingness-face. It’s horrifying, and often perceived as a temporary mental illness or a hellish deity.

The big-bad-block is nothing but an itch. As soon as you see it for what it is, you’ll come up with a million ways to scratch it.

Take Away the Magic

Demystify the entire process. You don’t actually need to be wearing your lucky flip flops while listening to your “power song” on a moon-lit night (for the lunar brain juice, of course.) The only spell you might need to cast before opening Word or Final Draft is pressing “brew” on the coffee-maker. Don’t psyche yourself out with weird parameters that prevent you from sitting in front of your computer and sorting through the problem.

Dream About It

Make sure that your project is the absolute last thing you think about before falling asleep. You probably won’t actually dream yourself into the world of your story. Even if you do, you might not remember it. That’s not really the point. What you’re aiming to do is give your subconscious a homework assignment. Don’t let it lounge about and come up with creative places to make you suddenly appear in your underwear, tell it to get a goddamn job. It might surprise you in the morning.

Remember: You're Just a Sausage Maker

I mean that in the kindest way possible, really. The sausage in this scenario is whatever screenplay, treatment, or love-letter you’re stuck on. Before you can pack your product into one of those semi-gross tubular casings, you need to throw tasty meat and spices into the grinder.

…what am I talking about?

You need to consume content, constantly. Don’t worry about spoiling your vision with other people’s work. All you need to do is feed the machine with fresh, delectable meat.

On that note, be careful how many reality dating shows you “ironically” watch. Consuming too much of that stuff is basically like throwing lettuce in the meat grinder.

Talk About It (or: shut up about it)

Yes, it’s a double-edged sword.

First edge: If you’ve been hiding under a rock, trying to create the perfect sausage, you’re missing out on the untapped potential of other people’s neurons. You don’t have to share a document that isn’t ready, or even look the person you’re talking to in the eyes. Expressing your troubles through your mouth instead of your finger-tips will grant you a new perspective.

Second Edge: If you’ve been running around, grabbing strangers by the shoulders and asking them what they think of your sausage, it might be time to pipe-down. Talking about your project can sometimes mean wasted creative energy that would have been better spent on page numbers than hot air.

Leave Your Lair

Working from home is one of the biggest perks of the job… until it’s not. You may think that stepping away from the desk twelve times per day is a part of your process, but there’s a chance it’s just a part of having your X-Box, kitchen, and bed all within throwing distance of your desk.

As cliché as it is, the coffee shop thing can work. If that’s too distracting, try going to a library, and not just for twenty minutes. If you sit at a desk for eight hours, staring at a blank document, something is going to happen, and anything is better than the big black cube that shall not be named.

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