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Pump Yourself Full of Nutrients to Get Rid of Writer’s Block

May 27, 2013
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While taking a jog the other night, I reached a point where I usually get exhausted. So, I asked my body for a damage report.

The report that came back read: heart pumping efficiently, no stitches, all gears spinning, legs not redlining, and gas tank fully functioning.

I thought, really, everything’s working. Ok then, let’s keep going.

Then I wondered, why can’t I always feel like this while I’m writing?

Have you ever sat down to write, and everything felt wrong?

You’re sitting at your desk, typing, deleting, typing, deleting, for an entire hour. Maybe you just stared at that infernal cursor, blinking mockingly over a sea of white, or maybe you typed up that draft, only to feel like the entire thing was way off.

But what is this relentless condition, and why should it happen to you? After all, you’ve been writing for a while now, you’ve gotten the hang of it, and people have even complemented you on your writing.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that you have writer’s block.

We all go through it. Just like the common cold, it’s bound to take hold of us sometime. But there is a way to fight it (no, not with 2 Panadol).

How?

Well, let’s use my jogging analogy to see what I did right that day.

The Nutrients

I jog at least once a week, but there is another important factor that gave me the boost I needed. To fuel my body with the energy for a perfect jog (and other things), I eat 4 times a day: breakfast at 7, midday snack at 11, lunch at 1, and dinner at 8.

But don’t think my breakfast is a bagel or a sugar-coated doughnut. I eat eggs, beacon, and fruit. My snack is not potato chips and chocolate bars. I snack on oatmeal with cranberries and peanut butter (not the maple brown sugar stuff. The natural oats. And no, I don’t do this every day).

Pumping my body with energy pushing foods and timing my meals properly allows energy to flow when I call for it.

So what’s the equivalent of these energy pushing foods for writing?

You have to read to write.

Don’t think you can put off your reading because you’re too busy writing, or too busy taking care of the husband. Remember, you probably started writing because of how much you enjoyed reading (if not, then no wonder you’re having a tough time).

For example, I’m a science fiction fantasy writer, so I read a lot of science fiction fantasy. I also write blog posts, so I read a lot of blogs.

If you’re a historical fiction writer, then you need to read a lot of historical fiction. Similarly for mystery, horror, and romance.

Most likely the genre you write is what you love. So read the things you love, watch the movies you love, and play the video games you love (yes, video games have amazing stories these days).

What you put into your mind is what will come out.

Balance

Now let’s take a look at the body again. Your body needs a mix of different nutrients such as protein, iron, carbohydrates, and even fat (yes, your body needs fat). There is no one super-nutrient that can magically keep it going.

Similarly, your writing can go further by reading different genres. There is no one super-genre that conquers all others.

Think fantasy is utter nonsense? Maybe it’s exactly what you need to break that plateau. Hate romance? Give it a try. Only read fiction? There are some really inspiring non-fiction books available.

The secret to enjoying something you never considered consuming is to forget all your rigid rules and let the creator establish theirs.

Try straying a bit, keep an open mind and see how far it takes your writing.

So, now that I’ve said that, excuse me while I go read some romance.

What do you think about the writing nutrients? Let me know in the comments. If you like this post, then you can subscribe to my free newsletter for updates on new articles. And if you haven’t already, click here to read Scene from a Nightmare, this month’s trailer of my latest book, King Larsen.

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From → Writing Tips

4 Comments
  1. Samuel Cassar permalink

    great analogy, you really have a way of connecting your words with real life situations

    • Thanks Samuel. I think it’s possible to relate everything to writing.

  2. Jevon, I appreciate this post. I always hate it when writer’s block strikes. Every time it happens, I can’t wait for it to pass. But, I turn lemons into lemonade and use the time for reading.

    At first, I didn’t think it made sense to read outside of my genre. Now I read widely and I see the rewards of sharper, faster writing whenever I sit at the page. Currently, I’m splitting my reading time between a biography, and a book on quantum theory.

    • Thanks Chamois. Quantum theory? I didn’t even consider straying that far. You have opened my mind even further.

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