Wednesday, August 24, 2011

RTW: The Cure

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:

How do you beat writer's block?

One word. EXERCISE.

A while back I blogged about this particular topic so if I sound like I'm repeating myself, I am. But my remedy for writer's block hasn't changed. And some of you are new to my blog and haven't seen this. And well, I'm just lazy. (Me thinks I need some exercise!)

I'm a huge exercise fanatic. Why? Because exercise can be soooo mind-opening.


Check out a typical Saturday morning.

I down my morning cup cups of coffee sugar, staring at my laptop. I'd made great plans - get up before the kids - hash out that next chapter in whatever I’m working on. However, I've typed two sentences in twenty minutes. My 2000 word goal seems impossible. My butt's eating calories from the chair. I'm not making ANY progress. SO I shove my feet into worn Nikes, pop a bud in each ear, and ease on down the road. My legs are moving.

But it's my mind doing the most wandering.

My workouts don't just work my body. They work my mind. Scenes smack me in the head, sometimes the images so vivid I almost race back to the house to jump on my computer. A-ha moments emerge from the subconscious mid-elliptical stride. I have gotten more amazing ideas, answers to characterization or plot questions I drove myself nuts over, even drummed out profound thoughts for future blogs. All because I took thirty minutes to shut the rest of the world off and allow my mind to be free, open to possibilities.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of times I block out an afternoon for writing, inspiration hits, and I bang out 3000 words. But there's something about stepping away from the computer, ignoring my writer's block, and just allowing the subconscious to fix the problems, add nuances, or even open my mind to a new character that makes me stop mid-walk and go Huh.

Exercise - I loooove it. Most awesome cure for writer’s block. And I'm evil McGrumpy on the days I don't get any. (haha - that’s what she said.)

So how about YOU? What's your cure for writer's block?!

PS - reaching out thoughts and prayers to my fellow eastern seaboarders. Earthquakes and now Irene. I hope we all fare well.


  1. I'm taking a month to collect ideas for my WIP since I seem in such a rut. Ironically, I have an hour carved out today to go for a run. Hooray for exercise being able to fix writing problems! ;)

  2. Exercise was one of my fixes too! Nothing like a good run or a half-hour of yoga to clear your head and get you back on track. :)

  3. Sounds like a really good solution!

  4. What a healthy fix for writer's block! For me, I have a hard time letting my mind wander while exercising. I just feel like I need to be present in my body so I don't end up pulling a muscle or something, haha...

  5. Heck yeah to exercise! I depend on daily jogs to get WIPs brewing in my head.

  6. I should do more exercise. I bet it will drive the ideas faster (and work off that cupcake sooner).

  7. I love this method! I do this myself, and not only does it clear my mind, it makes me feel better physically too. When I know I have a full day of writing ahead, I start with a run and it never fails to make me that much more motivated.

    And yes--cross your fingers Irene takes an eastern turn!

  8. Exercise for me too. It's such a great way to make up new scenes in my head. And it's good for the butt too!

  9. I drive...
    No radio, just late nights on the freeway. I know it probably sounds crazy, but when I drive - my mind opens up and I come up with new stuff all the time.

    I also meditate.

    Being that I'm trying to lose weight...I guess I'll have to get off my butt and try exercise...

  10. While I am not an extremely athletic person, I do have to agree with you. A good walk or drive allows me a change of scenery and time to think that is away from my keyboard and, in turn, pressure.

    Have you ever noticed yourself getting brain freeze because you are waiting for the words with your fingers ready to fire them into the word processor? They just don't wanna come sometimes.

    (BTW, when I say "drive" I tend to mean someone else driving somewhere with me in the vehicle.)

  11. Wish I could become an exercise fanatic...maybe you should blog some tips about that (if you haven't already).

  12. Jogging is the #1 way I beat writer's block besides doing nothing. Sometimes I feel like it's a mixture of too much sitting and burn out in the brain.

  13. I would give my right arm to love to exercise. I am the laziest mofo on the planet. Both of my parents LOVE to work out...I did not inherit that, and I'm jealous.

  14. I once read that the best way to overcome it is having kids. You're going to be craving computer time so much that when you have a second in front of the screen you're going to write as fast as a racehorse. :D

    Works for me! :P

  15. Oh you're putting me to shame. I must get running again.

  16. I forgot about how important exercise (and small DIY home improvement activities for me) help jiggle thoughts from the muse. Great post.

  17. I lurve me some exercising too (weights and kickboxing, anyone?) but as a mind-erasing stress relief. I think about nothing while I work out, just my body (that sounds weird... but you know, how it feels, focusing on my technique, etc.). I've tried going running to think things through with a story before and by the end I was tired, mentally relaxed, and had totally forgotten about the problem at all (not exactly progress).
    How funny that the same thing can have different effects!

  18. Agree - definitely exercise, housework or food shopping. For some reason, I have the best plot ideas while feeling up cantaloupes. :))
    Fellow NA campaigner saying hello *waves*

  19. Hi, Allison, fellow Campaigner here! I wish I loved exercise (well my body does). Luckily I haven't suffered from writer's block yet - I'm sure I will some day.

    I see that you're a math teacher - I co-authored a book that may interest you. It's called: TEACHING NUMERACY: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking. It just came out from Corwin Press this past April. I know Amazon has a few chapters up on our page.

    Anyway...see you out there....


Yay! I LOVE comments!