One of the things that distinguishes writers from non-writers is that writers will often have notebooks, scraps of paper, and other places full of thoughts (because the thoughts simply must be written down before they escape or before the writer’s head explodes from keeping them in) AND YET we will run into writer’s block where we simply can not come up with a single thing to write about.
Here is a suggestion for dealing with writer’s block that is neither original nor radical, but does seem to be effective.
Keep a journal.
Always have a notebook of some sort with you to write down your ideas, even if it is just a shirt-pocket spiral-bound cheap thing.
If you find yourself needing to capture your thoughts while driving or otherwise unable to put pen to paper, get a voice recording app for your phone. (Just be sure you go back and write or type up what you dictated while it is still fresh in your mind.)
Now, you may be asking, “isn’t keeping a journal kind of girly — like you have a gushy pink diary with a little lock on it?”
My response: “Only if you insist on buying a pink diary with a lock on it.”
Seriously, go to a store that carries office supplies and get a notebook of a size you can stick in your pocket or briefcase or purse. Pick one or more that you won’t be embarrassed to be seen carrying around. Skip those with locks — this is not a diary, it is an idea bank, a place to store up ideas for future use.
So, what do you put in your journal? Try these ideas:
A Gratitude Journal — list the things you are grateful for, describe why you are grateful for them, tell how they came into your life or why you would be poorer if they were gone . (This idea came from Mamalisa4 in a comment on this excellent article from Annie Emmy Evans about gratitude.)
A Letting Go Journal — think of all the things you should let go, burdens of stuff and guilt and anger and bad habits.
A One Sentence Per Day Journal — I saw this one at a bookstore and yes, you can buy these ready made, but why spend the extra money for them? Just write one sentence per day for a year. Do that for a few years and then go back and look at what you wrote in the past on any day where you need inspiration.
A Quotes Journal — as you find quotes that speak to you, write them down. Why does this quote speak to you? What about it inspires, amazes, annoys, or enlightens you? Be sure to put who said it and where you saw the quote so you can credit them properly when you use them in your writing.
A Restaurant Journal — when you go out to eat, write down where you went, what you had, your impressions of the restaurant,the food, the staff, the neighborhood, and the other people eating there or seen in the area.
A Travel Journal — where have you been? When did you go and why did you go then? What did you see and do on your trip? Did you have to make special arrangements to get away? Who helped you with those? What happened at your home or work while you were away?
A Goals Journal — what do you hope/plan to accomplish? What are the skills that you bring to the pursuit of those goals? What action steps will you take to get there? Where are you in your progress toward your goal?
Or, you could always do the less-formal thing and just write every day. Just be sure you put your writing somewhere that you can find it, as ideas often come out half-baked at best and will need time before they can be turned into something worthy of sharing with your readers.
So, are you journaling? If so, what do you put in your journal? Do you have a type of journal not mentioned above?
While I AM taking the Writing101 class from WordPress University and this DOES meet the requirements of Day 8’s assignment, I did not write it for that reason. Even so, I am claiming it as completing that day’s homework. 😀