Writer's Block? Neuroscience may have a solution (or two) for you!
A couple of science backed up hacks to regain creativity and fight writer's block
Arguably, the problem with writer's block is creativity. Not the fact that we may at times lack creativity, but that we wait for inspiration when it comes to creative projects. See, if you need to write an email for work, or finish a paper for Uni or high school, or even write a sad text to your ex, you don't get the block. You just do. You write.
I'm not saying writer's block isn't a thing. But I am implying that with a bit of wanting, we can beat it. And it would be an easy fight.
According to Michael Grybko, a neuroscientist, and writer Kelton Reid, when we feel like we are lacking creative inspiration, is usually because our neurons aren't firing as we'd want them to.
Therefore, if we accept it as a brain problem, we could work out how to give the brain time to rest while more automatic processes do the work: letting the subconscious play it's part. This can be done at different levels of passiveness. For example, you might recharge the subconscious through mediations, or write nothing at all while you just think about topics.
Meditation for Creativity
Everyone's definition of creativity is different. It could be about tapping into one's inner creative mind. For others, it may be more about problem-solving or resolving a technical issue through creative thinking.
Unfortunately, we cannot simply show up and expect creativity to follow suit.
According to Headspace, some forms of meditation can help:
By using meditation for creativity, we can calm the mind to create the stillness and clarity that then allows us to access our creative inspiration, giving it the space it needs to float to the top. That's precisely why it seems like our most creative thoughts often surface as we're drifting off to sleep, during a walk, or in the middle of a shower. Because our preoccupation with the stresses of the day or the busyness of mind drops away when we unwind and relax, creating the conditions for creativity to flourish.
You can edit bad writing.
To tap into psychology for this one, let's think of if-then plans.
The concept behind if-then planning, according to the Melbourne Centre for Behaviour Change, is to identify scenarios that are generally linked with the behaviour you're attempting to change, and then describe a reaction that is meant to overcome your regular patterns in these instances.
IF I see the blank page I WILL write at least 2 sentences.
Just doing something repeatedly, will make it stick. You know, habits…
Now you may ask: Sure, I can write a paragraph, but what if it's just a bunch of s**t?
See, my friend. It doesn't matter. We are here to win against writing block, and by then, you will have won. If the writing is bad, you can always edit it.
But can you edit nothingness? No.
Starbucks and local cafes can change your brain
A bit of a pompous heading? Maybe. But why do you think people work so well and for so long at cafes?
Note: libraries apply as well. But, where is the coffee?
The reasons why writing in such places works include:
- Concentration is contagious: seeing other people doing work motivates us to do the same
- The ambient sound of a café stimulates creativity
- The smell of coffee can stimulate creativity (up yours, library! Ok, JK)
In summary, creative block - or writer's block - exists as a phenomenon of our minds not reacting according to our desires to produce content. According to scientists and psychologists, there are a couple of things that can help get words on the page: let our subconscious play, just write something - even if bad - , and move our writing space to the coffee shop.
Would you try any of these?