I often feel a little fire ignite in my heart, it blazes so wildly, urging my fingers to the keyboard. 30 minutes later, I find myself staring at a blank document. It’s stress. That demon that extinguishes the little fire in my heart. The smoke blinds my eyes so I can’t write my story. The smoke swirls in my mind as I obsess over syntax, grammar, and style. While I live to share my stories, pressure and stress can cause writer’s block.
I’ve had the pleasure of talking to women about their own experiences with writer’s block. A woman recently asked, “I love to write, but I feel so much pressure…how do you write?” Perhaps you experience a combination of creative writing blockers. As a writer and writing mentor, I’ve developed several mindful writing techniques. Trust in the process and you will move beyond writer’s block, into a place where you can create a bridge to other women through your writing. We all have a story to tell (and oftentimes many stories), and writing allows us to define and redefine OUR stories. Follow these tips to blast past writer’s block:
- Pick the story that is haunting you. I had the honor of speaking with author Mary Higgins Clark (a story which I’ll write about soon), and she told me to “pick the story that is haunting me.” If the story doesn’t come easily to you, I encourage you to try a SoundMind meditation to ground yourself. Then, ask yourself the following questions: “What is the story that keeps me up at night?”; “What is the story I wish I didn’t have to hide?”; “What is the experience I’ll never forget from childhood?” There are stories that live inside of you and want to escape. Let them escape. As a cautionary tip, if you are like me, you might overflow with stories you need to write. Get clear on the story that is loudest for you right now. Jot down the other topics so you can return to them in the coming weeks. For now, trust the story that is haunting you.
- Write sloppy first drafts. Forget about syntax, grammar, and diction. Commit to leaving editing to a later draft. Let your sentences bleed into each other. Let your spelling get sloppy. Just allow yourself to begin. Beginning is a bold move. With the rise of your next breath, begin. And when you get scared, stressed or frustrated, come back to your breath and begin again. Keep taking the risk of beginning to write despite the fear and doubt. Every single day. After all, writing is like painting on a canvas. You can always paint the canvas white if you don’t like your masterpiece.
- Get lost and found in your story. Take the writing process breath by breath, and word by word. Be patient with yourself. After committing to a daily writing practice, this will get easier. If you approach uncomfortable turns in your story, perhaps details you might have forgotten about a childhood experience, lean into the discomfort. Breathe. And trust yourself a little, my dear. The story might need to bleed onto the paper as tears stream down your cheeks. It will likely be messy. Writing often reveals our innermost secrets and scars; ones that we keep hidden and bottled up inside. But you learn so much about yourself in telling your story.
- Own your story. Accept the reality that you might (and more likely will) face rejection if you look to publish or share your story with an audience. Your ego might become quite loud as a result. It might be mean to you. Sometimes my ego tell some me: You aren’t good enough to make it as a writer, don’t do it. Get a full-time job. Be aware of the fear your ego feeds on, and be gentle in asking your ego to sit on the sidelines as you create your masterpiece.
My fellow warrior, your story needs to be heard and I look forward to connecting with you through it. If you are looking for more tips, I will be launching writing workshops this winter! Keep writing every single day.