Five slightly less than orthodox ways to avoid writer’s block

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Five slightly less than orthodox ways to avoid writer’s block

Writer’s block sucks. It takes a beautifully intricate circulatory system—red blood cells deliberately delivering oxygen molecules to every single cell in the body—and turns it into a clogged public toilet. Before you go calling the plumber, get back to 65 beats per minute with these out-of-the-ordinary, fodder-generating activities.

Do something mischievous***

The days of quietly planting the whoopy cushion on a colleague’s seat are long gone. Pulling off a really good prank takes cunning, patience, and dexterity. Nothing gets the juices flowing like trying to be sneaky. Just don’t get yourself arrested, please. Cellblocks are much worse than writer’s blocks.


***DISCLAIMER: I said mischievous, not illegal. Use your noggin’ out there in that big, bad world of ours.

Spark up a conversation with a stranger

I hate to tote trite truisms around, but let’s face it, everybody has at least one pearl of wisdom to share. That person you just passed in the street? (Maybe skip the guy with more than one face tattoo.) Make it your duty to find out theirs. You never know when you’re going to be sharing tales of triumph with a Korean finance guru over fire-roasted cauliflower in a Vienna-based Israeli restaurant as a result. I didn’t make that one up. She was really cool.

Become a “YES!” man for one day

“If Jimmy jumped off a bridge, would you do it?” Maybe with a bungee cord. In everyday life, people ask you for more than you think. Say yes all day and you’re sure to have at least one new quirky experience. Did somebody say mushroom picking after work?

Beginner’s tip: Don’t tell your friends about it; they might take advantage of your indiscriminate agreement to everything. You don’t want to buy dinner for everyone.

Pay your grandma a visit (naturally, grandmothers love this one)

First of all, showing Grammy some love is always respectable. Do that even if you don’t have writer’s block. But, hey, even if that’s the only impetus for your visit, I’m sure grandma will take what she can get.


The beauty of the grandma visit is twofold:

1.     She will tell it to you like it is.

Don’t underestimate the power of some tough love on the mind (and body?). You can’t hide from the woman who helped change your diapers.

2.     You’ll probably get something interesting out of it—be that material or immaterial.

A time hop, a freshly baked confection, sage advice, a third generation recipe, a sentimental hug, etc. If your grandmother’s really badass, she might even take you out on the Harley.


Go offline

Okay, okay, okay. I know. You probably think this is going to be some ploy to get you to go outside, connect with nature, and find your inner Buddha. While you might consider doing that, too (I promise, bears generally leave you alone—they just don’t like selfies), hear me out for a moment:


Let your phone die.

Hide your tablet.

Turn off your television (I know, it’s getting painful).

Close your laptop.

And finally …

Unplug your WIFI box (please, don’t hurt me).


Before you call me a monster, go about your day as normal for 24 hours (if you’re brave, try 72). You might be surprised how creative you have to be to accomplish the same tasks that have become seamless with technology. For example, invite someone to dinner without a phone call or text, and then arrive somewhere on time without Google Maps.

Have I given your block a budge yet? I hope so. If not, step away from your writing project and come back to it a few days later. You’ll find a new perspective with time and switching up the routine. Just don’t ever be afraid of trying something new.




The brain of Richard D. Lee (patent pending). There is no official MLA formatting for human body parts as reference materials. So you get italics.

Richard Lee

[insert clever caption here]

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