It happens to all of us. We hit the wall–the dreaded thing called writer’s block. All of a sudden, we can’t write. Not a phrase, not a sentence, not one word worth a darn thing.
Frustrated, we work harder. We’ll break the wall down, we’ll keep writing, even if it kills us. We fuel up on coffee, or other stimulants, stare at our computer screen as if into the eyes of a bull, and power through. Write we will. Unfortunately, write we don’t. So what can we do?
According to Jonah Lehrer, in his new book Imagine:How Creativity Works, the best thing we can do is step away from the task at hand and find some way to relax. Take a walk, a bath, put on some music and daydream. Of course, this is easier said than done–because we writers can prove just a little obsessive at times. But what if we truly trusted that the answer would come once we stopped looking for it?
Lehrer, who specializes in writing about neuroscience, says that creative breakthroughs are more likely to happen when we’re relaxed. Stress is the enemy of imagination. Even taking a few deep breaths can help unknot our tension.
So next time you meet the wall, what will you do? I always head out into nature. I’d love to hear what works for you.