A major block in my creativity has been keeping me down lately, which is hard to contend with since I don’t believe in writer’s block any more than leprechauns and gnomes.
It’s a myth, right? It’s one of those things people go on about that I can’t tolerate.
Following this recent struggle, I’m a believer. I’m convinced that my long suffering (14 days, 6 hours and 8 minutes) served a purpose. I now have a sure-fire cure for writer’s block to save us all from the pain of not being able to express ourselves in words.
How did I finally beat it to the ground and free myself from it’s vicious grip?
I can hardly believe it myself. Exercise.
I know that sounds crazy, but stay with me a minute.
I’ve been sloppin’ around the house not being able to write anything, not at all in touch with my inner…whatever. Slowly I wandered from room to room in my fluffy socks and sweat pants looking out the windows at the barren trees, feeling creatively empty.
The kids ran around as usual, happily ignoring their disheveled, grumbling mom.
Now, I don’t participate in any sort of exercise regimen. I don’t think I participate in anything that requires me to use the word regimen. Exercise needs to be fun, like rock climbing, hiking or riding a horse. Problem is, in the winter I don’t ride because (return to crankiness) it’s to damn cold here in the splendid northeast for me to go stand around a barn freezing my tush off trying to tack up a horse with frozen fingers.
Basically, I hibernate in the winter. I like to sit in front of warm fires and eat hot soup. I don’t get out enough. And unless you count playing Just Dance on the Wii with my girls, I don’t get much exercise.
So in an effort to end the misery of writer’s block I decided to get on the elliptical training machine that my husband bought me years ago when I was feeling remarkably similar to a sausage, like my skin was being pulled too tight over the fat I had accumulated in the first few years of our marriage. I used it a bit back then out of desperation, until I discovered the time saving weight loss truth: Put down the fork. Step away from the table.
And so the machine sat there in the corner, looking forlorn and pathetic. I felt bad for it. I decided to dust it off and give it a go.
After fifteen minutes, something did a back flip in my head. Then there was another. And another. No, I wasn’t having a stroke. My body wasn’t going into shock from the sudden increase in movement.
I had ideas.
It had been so long I forgot what it felt like to have ideas flipping around in my mind and nagging me to try them out, to release them from the crowded space in my mind, to rescue them before they slipped into the darkness. I could feel their fear of getting pushed aside, to the part of my mind where the admin password is lost forever with the dark and twisty memories of my long repressed past.
So this has become my solution. It’s far healthier then pouring another cup of coffee and staring blank faced at the wall above my desk for an hour. I exercise. In little spurts. When I start to feel clear minded (it can take a while), the words flow faster than my legs can go on the elliptical slimifier.
Slimifier isn’t a word, I know. When you feel the walls of writer’s block come crashing down, you don’t want to hold back. Not a thing. If you start creating your own vocabulary, so be it. Tolkien created an entirely new language for his elves (NOT gnomes) and he is obviously a genius, right? He’s the only writer I’ve come across who uses flotsam and jetsam appropriately in the same book, but in different places without annoying me.
Are you suffering from writer’s block? Do you have stairs nearby? Go run up and down them for a while, until your legs hurt and you’re panting. Any new ideas? No stairs? Drop and give me 20 push-ups, or better yet, try to do 100 crunches.
I bet you have one idea. At the very least you now feel inspired to leave me an incredibly creative and nasty message in the comments section telling me what a fake I am and how I don’t know squat about writer’s block. Go ahead. Let the words flow. And when you’re done giving me a good lashing you’ll be all set to get back to work.
Hey, it worked for me.
Now, what if you exercise all the time? Are you one of those oh I just love to exercise – I can’t live without my daily workout, regimen loving types…stop exercising today. Just today. No workout. No sex. Nothing that feels physically gratifying. Suffer for your craft for 24 hours and see what happens. You’ll be feeling all tied up in knots and need to write. Come on back and tell me how crappy you feel. Be colorful. I can take it.
How do you handle writer’s block? Tell me in the comments!