There is nothing more daunting than a blank page.
You stare at the empty space, hands hovering over the keyboard or squeezing the pen, willing the words to appear. The page stares back at you, and you stare at the page, and it’s like descending into a personal hell. Before long, you’ve turned to the chocolate biscuits and Facebook in an effort to distract yourself.
But there is a way out. There are ways to spark yourself back into creativity.
There’s nothing in my head! Oh god, there’s nothing in my head! What do I do? What do I do?
Slow down there. Panicking is not going to help. Stress is going to naturally drive any ideas from your head, resulting in further stress and panic, which in turn drives any ideas from your head, so you stress and panic – and so on and so forth.
So, take a break.
Taking a break? But I can’t procrastinate.
You’re not going to do anything well if you’re too stressed to think. Take yourself away from the stressful environment for a short while. Go out for a walk. Take a trip to the shops and buy a coffee or a bite to eat. Take a drive around town. The important thing is to give yourself a brain break, and take the time to calm down. When you’ve given yourself the time to relax, ideas should come back, and you’ll feel refreshed and ready to face the glare of the page again.
Okay, I’ve given myself a brain break, but I don’t have any inspiration.
Well, what does inspire you?
Inspiration is unique to all of us, and we take input from different sources. So, what makes you want to do something more than anything else? For some people, artwork inspires creativity; so why not put some of your favourite pictures up where you work? For others, music is a great source of passion and drives them to do something. Instrumental is normally found to be more helpful than music with lyrics, but it’s a matter of personal choice. Why not make a playlist of your favourite music to work to and play it while you write? Or listen to the radio (preferably not a station that annoys or draws you into discussion) – if you find yourself wearing thin, you can sit back and listen for a few minutes. Exercise can help a lot of people; try going for a quick jog or a swim before you write anything.
So my mind is rested and I’m inspired now – but I don’t have any drive.
For me, drive comes in anticipation of achievement. I like to have something done and finished, so I can give myself a well-deserved pat on the back. But sometimes, it just doesn’t feel like what I’m writing is going anywhere. If you’re having trouble pushing yourself to finish a piece or an article, try setting yourself a goal to work towards. Say, for every two hundred words, you take five minutes to do something you really enjoy. You could have a biscuit, take some time to do a few more rows on your knitting, or watch an episode of your favourite television show. For finishing what you’ve set yourself to do, reward yourself. Take an experience you’ve found to be unpleasant make it enjoyable; the better the experience, the less likely it is you’ll experience the same difficulties when you do it again.
And above all, remember that everyone has their on and off days. Today, it might feel like you have nothing but sludge between your ears and that each word you manage to produce reads like drivel. Tomorrow however, you might write page after page with ease. Take a moment, relax, let yourself think straight and enjoy yourself – your blank pages should flourish into pages full of brilliant and wonderful pieces.
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