Monthly Archives: April 2015

Beat the Block: Get Physical

beattheblockWriter’s block has left countless writers with the inability to put words to paper. Whether it’s a total lack of ideas or too many ideas, writer’s block leads to convoluted thinking and stops the writer from creating a story. It’s almost inevitable and whether you’ve written one or one hundred books, writer’s block is one of the biggest obstacles a writer might face. It can occur at any stage of the writing process and for some writers, it’s incredibly difficult to beat.

Last week, I discussed the benefits of utilizing writing prompts in order to overcome writer’s block. This week, I am going to discuss the benefits that exercise can have on your writing and how it can significantly increase your chances of beating writer’s block.

Writing is an incredibly sedentary activity and writers can find themselves sitting in a chair for hours on end. Focus and creativity may wane after so many hours of inactivity, resulting in writer’s block. Getting away from the computer and on your feet is a great way to reinvigorate the mind and body. Not only is exercise a welcome distraction to the stresses of writer’s block, but putting yourself in a new environment may lead to some inspiration.

There are countless ways a person can get active and exercise. Some people may prefer the security of working out on the treadmill at the gym while others may enjoy going for a hike or playing sports. Regardless of how you prefer to get active, regular exercise has always been one of the most important components of a healthy lifestyle. However, exercise benefits the mind as much as the body. In fact, regular exercise has actually been scientifically proven to improve creativity and creative inspiration.

There have been numerous studies that conclude that exercising has a positive impact on the brain and some conclude that exercise can specifically increase creativity. A journal called Frontiers in Human Neuroscience illustrates how those who exercise regularly perform better in creativity tests than their sedentary counterparts do. The study focuses on the impact that exercise has on divergent and convergent thinking, two important aspects of creativity. A study at Stanford University found that simply walking improves creativity. According to the study, a person’s creative output increases an average of 60% while walking. These are only two of the many studies that have the same conclusion: cardio exercise improves creativity.

My favorite method of exercising is going outside to do some cardio. Not only are you receiving all of the benefits of exercise, but being outside has been proven to boost your mood. It is also a great opportunity to take another look at the world, which may aid in world building and plotting when you eventually do return to your computer.

Whether you’re exercising on a stationary bike or biking in a marathon, regular exercise has been scientifically proven to improve creativity and creative thinking. Creativity is undeniably important in the writing process and this creative boost is an excellent way to think of new story ideas, fill in plot holes, and beat writer’s block.

I will be continuing my Beat the Block series throughout the month of April to provide tips and tricks to beat writer’s block. If you have ever defeated writer’s block by exercising, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Until next week,

Debbie

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Beat the Block: Use Writing Prompts

writingpromptsWriter’s block has left countless writers with the inability to put words to paper. Whether it’s a total lack of ideas or too many ideas, writer’s block leads to convoluted thinking and stops the writer from creating a story. It’s almost inevitable and whether you’ve written one or one hundred books, writer’s block is one of the biggest obstacles a writer might face. It can occur at any stage of the writing process and for some writers, it’s incredibly difficult to beat. I have found that one of my favorite ways to get over writer’s block is with the help of writing prompts.

Writing prompts are words, sentences, or paragraphs that stimulate creativity and encourage writers to write about a specific topic. Writing prompts come in many varieties and they can vary in length and in the style that they are written. Some writing prompts will simply give the writer a topic to write about:

Write about waking up in a different body.

Other writing prompts may drop the writer in the middle of the scene:

Just as I was leaving, the door swung open and a woman emerged through the doorway. “I can’t believe that you would do something so horrible.”

Regardless of the type of prompt, writing prompts can help stimulate your imagination and reinvigorate your focus. If you are attempting to come up with a plot for a new project, a good writing prompt may inspire a story idea. If you are in the middle of a project and have come to a stop, writing something new could help spark your creative energy. Also, you could put your current characters into a writing prompt and seeing them in a new setting may bring about some inspiration. I think writing prompts are great for any type of project, whether it’s a novel, short story, screenplay, or poem.

Writing prompts are also incredibly easy to find. You can find books filled with writing prompts in book stores or in libraries. Typically, there will be a prompt at the top of the page and plenty of space for the writer to fill the rest of the page with words. There are also a huge number websites that list writing prompts online. One search for “writing prompts” can yield thousands of results and these prompts are just as good as the prompts you’d find in a book.

Whether you use writing prompts to start a story or continue one, they are incredibly helpful tools. In order to build your writing skill, you must write often and writing prompts can help improve the regularity of writing. They are excellent sources of inspiration and a great way to get over writer’s block.

I will be continuing my Beat the Block series throughout the month of April to provide tips and tricks to beat writer’s block. If you have ever used writing prompts to beat writer’s block, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Until next week,

Debbie