Behind every great writer is an equally great writer’s block, breathlessly waiting to once again turn a great idea into a blinking cursor on a word document. And when your income depends upon your ability to produce content at the drop of a hat, being paralyzed by writer’s block will simply not due! You have cats to feed, grammar to correct, and taking days to scale this ever growing wall expanding in your consciousness can deter you from writing at all.
It was after a year of approaching writing in this round about way that I realized I needed a game plan. And this turned into my bookmarked folder titled “Writer’s Block Breakers.” Here I’ve collected my favorite articles, videos, and songs that inspire me to sit down, focus up, and start writing. No excuses, no distractions; just me and my computer trying to string any cohesive sentence together. It’s my hope that these resources will give you the strength of Iron Man to break through that wall of writer’s block once and for all.
Video: “How to Do All the Things” is the ultimate creativity pep talk from Hank Green. If there is anyone who knows about getting things done, it’s Green. Since starting his YouTube channel, The Vlogbrothers, with his brother John in 2007, Hank has gone on to create Don’t Forget to Be Awesome Records; seven other education channels, such as Crash Course and Sexplanations; the internet convention VidCon; Project for Awesome; and many other side projects. His advice: Just sit down and do it.
Video: “How to Level Up” by Anna Akana has taught me the power of a good planner, time management, and setting realistic goals for yourself as a creative. Can you write for an hour a day? How about 30 minutes? How about 15 minutes?! Set a goal and stick to it because once you have that time allocated on your calendar, you’ll find yourself more focused because you only have an hour to get things done.
Song: Don’t ask me why, but when I’m feeling particularly lost about what I want to put onto the blank page in front of me, I simply turn on Carrie Hope Fletcher’s rendition of “Pulled” for a moment of inspiration. While this might not be your jam, I recommend having a song that works like a restart button for your brain. For me, it’s my favorite vlogger of all time.
Articles: “Turning Dreaming Into Doing” and Shonda Rhyme’s incredible commencement speech “Dreams are for Losers” will make me want to high kick my dreams into action and climb a mountain at the same time. It’s daunting to put your dreams into action, but like my dad always reminds me, you can’t eat an elephant in one sitting. You have to take it bite by bite. And as Rhyme’s reminds us, the only way to make your dreams come true is to work as hard as you possibly can and when you’ve reached your breaking point, work harder.
Note: My dad doesn’t actually support the eating of elephants. To help better get this metaphor across I’ve taken it upon myself to rewrite this advice now: How do you eat a pile of 56 hams? One bite at a time. Keeping it PC people!
Lists and Profiles: Time magazine’s advice on 10 ways to be a better writer paired with a profile of someone you find super inspiring are great reminders that even the best writers experience the same hours of editing, self doubt, and creative angst that the rest of us do. As someone I’m sure said once in history: The only way to write something your mother will proudly share with her hairdresser is to write, write, read, write.
My own personal advice: Procrastination and self doubt are my two biggest kryptonites as a writer, but I refuse to let them get the best of me. And the easiest way to do this is to get into a writing routine. For me, it’s a glass of ice tea, mapping out my points in my moleskine, turning on Duke Ellington, and telling myself to put anything on the page, no edits. And then repeat, five times a week.
I make sure to take breaks to rejump my creative process, and when the walls of my room start closing in, a change of environment to my local coffee shop always helps to get my written words flowing again. On days off, letting myself know it’s okay to just enjoy downtime is so SO important because how can I write about the world if I don’t experience it? With writing, few people are naturally good at it, which to me is almost comfort. Because if you work hard enough, read as much as possible, and make a point to always keep growing, you too can write something that will impact other people’s lives.
So may the writer’s block breakers be with you from this day forward!
^^ Also Casey Neistat is someone I watch everyday for tips on being the best creative I can be. Such an inspiring filmmaker. ^^