Monday, January 28, 2013

Overcoming Writer's Block

I’m sitting in front of a blank page waiting for inspiration to strike.  Muse? Check. I’ve got Tori Amos playing on i-tunes.  I stare at the keys, imagining the letters rising out of the key board and forming themselves into words, but before I can begin my computer is covered in a slimy, dripping dog bone.  Steamy, stinky breath blows into my face as my German Shepherd eagerly anticipates a game of catch.  How can I resist those big brown eyes?

The truth is, he’s just watching out for my well being.  I’ve been sitting for far too long and it’s time to get up and move around.  My dog seems to know what I need more than I do so I gladly take him for a walk.  The potion of fresh air and exercise do their magic and my mind fills with creative ideas.  I realize my writer’s block was really lack of oxygen to the brain. Thank goodness for pets.

Whatever the distraction is, every writer gets interrupted.  In fact, I’m sure that I’ve never finished a writing session voluntarily, it’s always because I’m forced to.  The kids come home from school, it’s time to make supper, I need to go to work.  Even now, I’m scrambling to finish this before hockey practice.  I’ve learned to make the best of my time by birthing my best ideas while away from the computer.

It boils down to this.  Your brain works better when oxygen-rich blood is pumping through it. If you sit down all day it will make you fat and unfit. Keeping your body healthy keeps your writing healthy too. Don’t worry about needing to write things down right away.  If it’s a spectacular idea, you won’t forget it.
Here are a couple things that work for me.

-          Eat a kiwi.  There are lots of foods that supply you with energy and vitamins from spinach to avocados, but kiwis are my favorite.

-          Go barefoot.  There are so many nerve endings in the soles of your feet that never get stimulated because they are constantly covered.  You’ll be amazed at the things you can “feel” both physically and metaphorically when you allow those nerves to work.

-          Attend a conference.  Having an isolating career can get depressing.  Meeting and knowing other authors as well as refreshing tips on the craft of writing can be just the motivational boost you need.  For an online conference check out Indie ReCon at on Feb. 19-21.

-          Get a pet.  They will make you work, but they will also make you play.  The art of reading facial expression and behaviors enters a new depth. They will give you more appreciation for your efforts than even a human.
At the end of the day, every writer needs to figure out what makes their words sing.  So get interrupted every once in a while.  Enjoy being reminded there is whole community out there with similar issues ready to offer support and suggestions.  Let your pets or family beg for your attention.  Make these breaks from writing an adventurous experience so you can return with activated senses and revved-up creativity.  The words of Tori Amos ring loud: “I’ve dodged bullets and even poison arrows only to be felled by the blade of a vowel.”

~Halli Lilburn Author of Shifters.


  1. I couldn't agree more. I take breaks throughout the day to get on the treadmill and my best ideas come to me when my blood is pumping.

  2. Yes... working out, or in the shower. :)

  3. Right, so that's why I have three crazy labs....the inspiration and keeping me off my writer's butt. ;) Love it.