It happens to everyone. If you’ve ever tried to write, deadline looming or not, it happens. It happened to Tolstoy, and it can happen to you. Except that now, we have more resources to help us. Of course, these resources and the Internet they reside in can also become the cause of that other sinister bane of writing: procrastination. But tough times call for tough decisions. So, if you’re seriously blocked, it might be worth a trip to the Net to check these sites out for help.
More than one suggests carrying a notebook or other recording device with you. Even if it’s just the memo app on your smartphone, it’s worth getting in the habit of writing down the great ideas that come to you when you least expect it.
Some of the quirkier ideas include writing or talking to a monkey or cardboard cutout, creating an inspiration board, and vacuuming your lungs. Hey, whatever works. Perdue has a series of symptoms and cures based on the type of issue, such as when you have to write about a topic that bores you, or if you’re very self-conscious. Of course, some of the ideas could be applied more widely, for example the suggestion to just, in fact, start writing; even if the content isn’t great. Some advice seems contradictory, such as the tip to “provide structure,” or to “throw out the rules.” If there’s a common thread here, it might be to shake up your situation. If you typically write with structure, throw out a rule or two. If you can’t be bothered to do the same thing twice, try creating a rule.
More popular ideas are free writing, setting small goals, starting from somewhere other than the beginning, and moving around. Go for a run, take out the recycling, walk the dog. Whatever you want. You’ll change your perspective (if only briefly), accomplish something, and actually get yourself – very literally – moving. Then sit down and start. Start from where you most want to, or just start writing at all, for a set amount of time. As the poet William Stafford once said, “There is no such thing as writer’s block for writers whose standards are low enough.” Not the most eloquent or lofty of suggestions, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without some truth. Maybe you just need to get started. Let yourself stumble around the page a bit, write some worthless fodder down. Just start damn it! Or take a break. Whatever gets you back to writing.