Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’m a freelancer struggling with writer’s block. In a tough trade and
economy I’ve managed to make a decent living writing everything
from articles for magazines and newspapers to writing and editing
corporate newsletters. Generally I am easily inspired, do efficient
research, and get my work done quickly. But lately I get stalled
whenever I face an empty screen. The topic almost doesn’t matter. I
am experiencing panic and that just makes me more panicky and then
I’m in a bad spiral. You get the picture. How can I free up my frozen
creativity and start pumping a reliable income stream back into my
We’ve all seen the movie where the artist rips another sheet out of the
typewriter, wads it up, and throws it across the room into a pile of
crumpled sheets. In a touch screen era it is an archaic image, but still
relevant and potent. The reality is that almost everyone experiences
the same frustrating blocks at some point in their career. They feel
stale and scared. It may look less dramatic and be more easily
obscured by other forms of interaction or productivity. The good news
is that what cures blocked imagination and creativity in one filed is
transferrable to others. And that once things start to move in your
brain they will move even faster. Think about how frustrating it is when
you’ve forgotten a word or name and cannot remember it no matter
how much you try. And then the ease with which it comes rushing in
when you stop trying.
The moral: unclench your brain. Here’s some tips from the experts.
There’ve been many studies of creativity lately so you can google and
get the technical back-up to why these ideas work, and maybe even
write articles about them. Stop obsessing about the negativity and blockage:
take a break. Take a walk. Take a shower. Take a nap. Start singing.
Change your writing habits and venue. Start cooking. Play a game.
Talk to friends (not whining about the problem but to increase the
boundaries of your awareness). Talk to colleagues; share ideas on
other subjects. Alll of this will get the grey matter moving again. So
push until you aren’t making any progress and then give yourself a
break. You’ll have better results later or tomorrow.