My Cure for Writer’s Block

Put in 20 minutes of writing every day and you will be amazed at the ideas, creativity and workflow that come with it. You can write literally anything for 20 minutes and that practice will do wonders!

This is actually old advice from one of my many Journalism profs over the years. It’s very simple. Write for at least 20 minutes every day. It doesn’t matter what or where as long as you’re putting words to page somewhere.

Admittedly, it’s not always on my blog here. You can start a journal. You can type out straight gibberish in your word processing program of choice. (Did I mention I recently really got into an app called Scrivener? Loving it!) You can see how many times you can write your name on a piece of paper in 20 minutes. As long as it’s something to get your creative juices going. You can write a poem, type out random thoughts as they go by, or even dip into what’s called automatic writing.

Many, many LoA enthusiasts recommend you keep some sort of journal. I have a regular spiral bound $.99 US College Ruled Notebook I used for mine for years. It’s got notes on top of notes in it along with things written on half sheets of typing paper that I paperclipped into it and sticky notes on many pages. When ideas come to me at work, I don’t hesitate to write on whatever is handy.

My journal has turned into sort of a written vision board. I have several pages from doing 55×5 method. This is where you very specifically write down your intention in present form as gratitude for already having it. I think it works beautifully for figuring out what it truly is that you desire the most. I’m still working on my $2.6M USD, but I have found a lot of joyful moments in the middle that have manifested themselves okay.

I know at the start of my day or when I finally get a chance to sit down and write those first 20 minutes are pretty valuable for unloading whatever has been on my mind. I type pretty fast, and so I can dump a lot of energy onto my keyboard pretty fast. I even have one for my phone and tablet that I carry around for when my laptop is not around.

As an aside, y’all kids have it easy. When I was growing up, I learned to type on a manual typewriter, then an electric typewriter, then a word processor, then finally a desktop computer. Which, back in the day a desktop computer literally took up your whole desktop. Nowadays, our phones make those old PCs look pretty sad in terms of memory and processing power. Take your Pokemon Go app for granted. Back in the day, we had to lug around a typewriter in a suitcase and there was no backspace/delete key.

This is where another invaluable tool comes in handy. Since I started wearing cargo pants every day, I carry a notebook in one of my pockets. It’s handy when you’re stuck in line at a restaurant or just need to make a quick note to yourself. Do you know how many awesome ideas flow through at the oddest times when you don’t have anything handy? It used to happen to me a lot, until I started carrying a notebook around again. I would say “reporter’s notebook,” but since I’m not a reporter it’s kinda… anyway. You get the idea.

When you’re writing as a sort of exercise every day, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Put words down, even if it’s literally just stream of thought. This is why I so often tell people I never get bored. Not only that, I never truly suffer from “writer’s block.” I might pause to think occasionally and maybe battle the distraction monster that is my phone. (Social media is like a black hole when it comes to time sinks.) But if you write for at least 20 minutes per day on something, anything, you can usually write yourself out of a funk pretty fast. Or go back and look at the other stuff you’ve written down and dredge for ideas whether it’s for an article, blog post, term paper, novel or whatever you’re doing.

In closing I should probably mention I don’t time myself. Maybe it’s because I’ve been at this in one form or another for 30+ years or because I have kind of an innate sense of linear time. (Bleh! for those who know me.) Early on, you might set a timer for 10, 15, 20 or longer minutes. 20 minutes seems to be a good stopping point for people with busy lives. The point of the whole exercise is just to write especially if you’re feeling stuck in any way.

Happy Writing. Publius.

Author: Jeff Craigmile

I'm a tabletop role-playing game writer and designer from Des Moines, Iowa. I'm the father of four boys and human to three cats.

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