Yesterday while writing in my journal about my recent experiments in cooking, I felt a sudden spark as the words began to flow. My entire self lit up and felt I could write for hours.
After three months of struggling with writer’s block, I felt a sudden sense of hope and place and connection to the moment. I had just started reading a book on manifestation, curious to find out if it is what I think it is. Was this a manual on magical thinking?
Two weeks prior while thinking of ways I could align my current self with my deeper values, two words presented themselves to me as the answer: magical thinking. And ever since then I’ve been trying to define what I mean by this and think of ways it can be done.
First step, turn your focus away from the outside world and go within. Listen to your intuition.
Magical thinking to me is what happens when you train yourself to trust yourself and it is what allows you to align yourself from the inside out as opposed to trying to impose the impossible balance of outside in.
Asking myself ‘how?’ led me to this book.
Now, you may be asking, how does all this relate to writer’s block?
I believe that writer’s block is tied to self-doubt and self-doubt is tied to feelings of not being enough. This is further fuelled by living in a society that presents consumerism as the answer to our unhappiness, all the while keeping us engaged in a scarcity mindset.
When we bring this line of thinking to the blank page, we rob ourselves of possibility and flow. That is what writing is about – bringing words out on the page and seeing what emerges.
How I deal with writer’s block
As a way to manage my own writer’s block, I’ve started to engage with my intuition and my curiosity more. To help me along, I’ve bought myself a set of oracle cards to set my thoughts outside the box and to reflect on things I haven’t yet considered.
What has also helped is recognising that the doubts I carry within myself are old. They serve no other purpose but to weigh me down and if I look closer at them, they are unfounded.
Other ways to deal with writer’s block
Keep a journal
- Most of the time we write with a purpose in mind and when we can’t fulfil that purpose, we get stuck. As writers, we also need a writing space in which we can feel free to write what we want, play with words and jot down notes when something inspires us. Having a space to do both means that when we feel stuck, we can switch to a freer place where we can let our thoughts flow. Who knows when these ideas will be useful in the future?
Do something mundane
- I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been able to resolve the issues causing my writer’s block by simply having a shower, doing the dishes or making dinner. By allowing the mind to go on autopilot, my mind is free to imagine all kinds of things and make all sorts of connections. One of these could very well be the connection I’ve been looking for to get me back into the flow of writing.
Write in pieces
- If you are writing a longer piece divide it into sections. Take either a set of cards or a few sheets of paper and on each one write a heading or a question that this particular section is supposed to answer or focus on. Then work on each section separately. Alternatively, you can just write in pieces and then decide how to organise the information later.
Read, read, read
- Reading to a writer is akin to eating. We need to nourish ourselves with good writing to allow ourselves to form opinions and develop our thoughts. We are what we consume and sometimes feeling that we have nothing to write about comes from not consuming enough content that inspires us.
Self-doubt is easy and this is why I think engaging in magical thinking is so important. By magical thinking, I simply mean challenging yourself to think differently about your current situation and taking the steps needed to align with your deeper values. This often means creating boundaries around a personal space in which you know you can thrive, no matter how small.
Limiting my screen time, going out for more random walks, reading, working with oracle cards and journaling have all helped me reconnect with my values and intuition. These steps encourage me to write from a place of self-trust. As a result, I feel happier inside, balanced and inspired by what is instead of waiting for some external form of validation that could never truly fulfil me.
Writer’s block comes from wanting to be perfect. Writing to connect comes from realising you already are. You only need to find your way back to that place that gives you the freedom to just be and shape your story in your own way and in your own time.
Do you have any other suggestions?
Photograph by Claudio Schwarz