Overcoming Writer’s Block: The Tech-Free Approach
Technology can be great for so many reasons, but it can also be the very thing that gets in our way. To achieve optimal writing productivity, we need to know when it’s time to step away or “unplug” for a while.
This is where my article comes into the picture. I give you ideas as to what you can do to overcome writer’s block and find your inspiration without the use of technology, such as laptops, tablets and cell phones.
This article is a continuation of a previous one on writer’s block that I think you’d find helpful as well: Overcoming Writer’s Block: Content Generator Tools. These writing productivity articles are part of a 5-post series on writer’s block. Stay tuned for the other three articles!
First, I have a question for you:
How often do you go outside for recreational purposes?
You could be playing catch with your kid, going for a run, or even just getting some fresh air sitting on your porch. Things that should not count are:
- Work commute
- Running errands
I exclude those scenarios because they’re required. They’re part of your daily routine. If you’re going to overcome your writer’s block, you need to give yourself the ability to think freely and distraction-free. I’ve said that recreational activities can include things that actually do distract you, such as playing catch, but it’s ultimately all about what gets your thoughts and ideas flowing. It’s about what works best for you.
- If you find it easiest to get inspired by playing catch, go for it.
- If running or sitting outside somewhere works, absolutely give it a go.
The important part is to give different options a try until you find the approach that you find most helpful. The only requirement: make sure it’s gadget-free.
My next question for you is:
Do you read recreationally?
I often have trouble with this one because I prefer reading blog articles about marketing, productivity and more. I don’t especially enjoy reading fiction or other novels, but I know they help many others with their quest for inspiration. This isn’t to say that reading relevant blog articles won’t help. They definitely do, but this article is about unplugging. Blog articles are online. Hence, I focus on print books.
I know it may seem like a good idea, but I do not recommend reading books on the very subject you’re looking to write about. They help, I’m sure, but you never know what you might discover by branching out to other topics.
I have an example:
When I was looking for a new topic for this blog after I finished my blogging tips series, I went back to my bookshelf where I have several books collecting dust. I chose to read one of my favorite fantasy books again. It’s about Merlin from childhood. It has absolutely nothing to do with marketing, but in the book, there was a short story I really enjoyed. It got me thinking about how much I like short stories. Then, I thought about what I would write if I were to create my own story. I had difficulty thinking of a topic, which reminded me of writer’s block.
It’s amazing how such random associations can lead to improved writing output. I highly recommend you give it a try.
Now, another question:
Do you know and appreciate the benefits of napping?
I certainly do. Naps are awesome! They aren’t just great for when you’re tired or sick. They do wonders for giving your mind time to refresh. You can also keep paper and pen by your bed so that you can record your thoughts while you rest or even your dreams if you can remember them upon awaking.
I keep a journal by my couch, where I normally take my naps. It took me less than a month to fill it up. Granted, it’s a tiny little notebook, but I did write down several random yet inspiring thoughts that I wouldn’t have likely thought of if I was busy doing other things.
Give it a whirl. Even if you don’t sleep but just lay down to think, it’ll give you time to let the creative juices flow without distractions.
Last but not least:
Have you experimented with free writing yet?
Yes, this could involve technology, such as a computer, but I’ve always found it easiest for me to express my thoughts with paper and pen. I’m of the generation that people say is too tech-obsessed, but I’d prefer pen and paper over gadgets anyday. It’s always easier to free write without the restrictions you find in computer programs and mobile apps.
Do you doodle?
Wouldn’t you find it easiest to create a visual on paper rather than deal with a stylus and touch screen (for example)?
Do you like writing all over the place without structural or formatting restrictions?
You don’t have the same freedom with an app that you do with paper. Besides, apps take time to get used to. You have to get familiar with their features and limitations. This all takes away the time you could be spending expressing your creativity and finding that inspiration you seek.
Going without all that technology can actually save you time despite the fact that advertisements often say otherwise. Go back to your roots and use the natural resources at your disposal to get past your writing hurdle.
My last question before I conclude is:
What are you doing reading this?
Step away from the computer, tablet or whatever device you’re using. Put down the phone and leave it there. Now, go explore ways to find writing inspiration without depending on what others say and what technology can do. No one knows your creative processes like you do, so go get inspired!
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