by Steph Wong
Almost every writing teacher will say that good writers stick to strict routines and schedules, and that’s how to avoid writer’s block. In fact, in this capitalistic society, everything is very schedule-based. Sure, having a set time to write or a set word count to achieve can make you “disciplined”, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you can avoid writer’s block.
Two big catalysts of writer’s block are feeling like writing is a chore, or like you’ve lost your creativity and inspiration. It feels like a chore if you schedule it too precisely for too long. It feels like you’ve lost creativity and inspiration if you have been doing it daily for too long. A routine can’t be the solution to either of these things; it will just lead to more writer’s block, and to burnout. The solution is rather the opposite: take a break from writing.
Instead, start thinking more. What inspires you? What makes you happy? What do you look forward to? When you can answer these questions, focus in on writing. Why do you write? What do you like about writing? What can you do in writing that you can’t do in other mediums?
Take in the world around you. Look at the way the light comes through the windows. Listen to the conversations happening around you. Feel the surface beneath you. Think about the scents in the air. When you eat, savour all the different flavours and textures in your food. Read your favourite authors. What do you admire about their writing? What can you incorporate into your own? Find the joy in simply existing, and creativity will find you again.
And when you’re ready, routine will be waiting for you. Find the most inspiring place and time of day. Pour a cup of your favourite drink, maybe get a snack. Play your favourite music or ambient noises. Grab your favourite notebook and pen, or open up a fresh Doc. It’s time to write.