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“A bend in the road is not the end of the road… unless you fail to make the turn.” – Helen Keller

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

There are always going to be those days when you show up to write and the words just won’t come. They will stumble and sputter and you will feel defeated before you even manage to get a word down. That’s the bend in the road, as Helen Keller points out. Don’t stop, make the turn.

These are the days when you need to give yourself permission to just do something else. The break will do you good and you may even reach a breakthrough without even fussing over your work in progress (WIP).

I do make a point of showing up to write for 10 minutes every day. This is my teeny, tiny writing goal. If in those 10 minutes I don’t feel the energy to keep my butt in the chair, I get up and leave the work. I let it air out.

You’ll notice I do not call it writer’s block. I don’t believe in that. Shifting gears may be all you need to blast through your snag or clean out the cobwebs.

Assess how your feeling

What you need to do to help yourself is do a quick assessment of yourself. Are you too tired? Are you just not motivated by this project at this time? Or are you feeling out of sorts and writing is just not doing it for you at the moment?

Whatever it is, there is something to help you. I have a plan for each of these.

Work on something else

If you are not feeling motivated maybe you just need to change gears and write something else for a bit.

I often do this.

I shift from my novel in progress to writing poetry or blogging. Each of these allows me to clear my head and write from a different creative part of myself.

I get a great sense of accomplishment as poetry and blogging often result in a smaller, bit-sized finished piece compared to that novel.

This month I have focused on blogging. Next month I will be happy to get back into my novel and move it forward.

Sometimes I shift to editing another piece. I shift from creator to editor. Note that it is a different piece, not the WIP. That makes a difference for me.

Much of the time, I will be able to sense which direction I need to go and if not, I may need to try another of my methods to blast through a murky patch. It all about getting to know yourself as a writer. Don’t stress. You got this.

Go do something that needs doing

This gets me up and away from the writing completely. Tackling things that need to be gone clears the way for creativity.

Sometimes those ‘need to do’ things can often get in the way of being creative. If you take the time to pay the bills, clean the bathroom, throw in a load of laundry you will feel accomplishment of a different sort.

Often, while your mind is on those routine activities, you will find that creative breakthrough that you were seeking. Jobs that are mundane and have a rhythmic aspect to them like ranking the lawn, brushing your teeth, or doing the dishes by hand have a way of opening you up. Thoughts come and questions can be answered and problems can be solved. Because you got out of your way and let the questions and problems percolate under the surface within your subconscious.

This is why I always keep a notebook with me at all times. Because you never know when the solution may pop up. Just make sure you pull off to the side of the road if you are driving somewhere. We want to be safe, people.

Take a nap

Sometimes I just feel burnt. Taking a twenty minute power nap can help to re-set my creative self.

If I did not have a great sleep the night before, I may need longer. I often wake up refreshed and ready to go again.

You may be due for an Artist Date

If you have been writing a lot and have not taken the time to refill your creative well, you may feel flat and bland. You may be depleted.

Taking a mini artist date to the Dollar store may give you a lift. It may also be a good idea to plan for a good Artist Date and get on it sooner, than later. Don’t neglect your inner artist. All work and no play will make you a dull person and your work will reflect that.

One day I checked out the artwork hanging in City Hall after I went there to pay a parking ticket. The artwork was bold and impressive. I felt better having spent the ten or fifteen minutes just being in their presence.

So where do you go from here?

So show up to the page at least. Put in your ten minutes and see where it gets you. If the writing it not happening, assess yourself to see what the trouble may be, then try some of the suggestions I have listed above.

Or try something of your own. I would love to hear how you break through this snag.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. One day is one day. Take it in stride. Not every day is going to be picture perfect. We are human after all.

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