Writer’s block is the worst. Worse than getting a cold in the summer. It sneaks up without warning and can leave you wordless for days, weeks. Thousands of books and blogs have been written promising the cure. Sometimes they help, but sometimes there is no easy cure. Like a car on an icy road, you’re spinning your wheels and unable to move. And it’s frustrating. I know. I have writer’s block right now.
Deadlines are looming and I cannot, for the life of me, get one word down. I tried freewriting. I tried writing prompts off the Internet. I tried eating a spoonful of peanut butter (Wait, was that for writer’s block or hiccups?).
Finally, I realized what it was. It was the place. Not the setting in my story — the place where I was writing. My apartment was toxic. I was surrounded by mental clutter that was stressing me out and keeping me from writing. Bills were piling up on the counter; dishes in the sink; clothes in the hamper. Whenever I sat down to write, I saw the dining room chairs that need to be refinished and reupholstered or the tax documents that still needed to be filed or any number of projects that demand my immediate attention.
I needed a change of venue. (My girlfriend’s apartment wasn’t much better. She has final exams coming up and stress is contagious.) Finally, I ended up at Bookmans, a local used bookstore with a cozy cafe. It’s one of my favorite spots; always filled with interesting people and books brimming with stories.
And sometimes, when all the complicated remedies fail to deliver, a simple change is all you need. Because I sat down at the bar with my tea and the words started pouring out, as if they’d been waiting there for me all along.
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I’m a writer living in Flagstaff, AZ. How do you deal with writer’s block? Leave your tips in the comments or shoot me a tweet: @jonnyeberle.