Why is it that your old friend, writer’s block, always comes to visit when you’re up against a deadline? Maybe it’s nerves. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Whatever the reason, you’re going to have to show it the door if you want to get paid this week. So, how do you work around writer’s block when facing a deadline?
Take a breather.
As the song says, “Free your mind and the rest will follow.” Take a walk. Read a book by someone else. Take a bubble bath. Do whatever it takes to chase away nerves, anxiety or whatever is blocking your creativity. Work on another favorite artistic hobby for a moment to get those juices flowing. It may seem like a waste of time under the circumstances. Just remember, it’s bound to take even longer if you do nothing.
Just start writing.
With deadlines looming, beggars can’t be choosers. Just start writing anything that comes to mind. It could be a poem or lines from a nursery rhyme. Then, gradually work your assigned subject matter in. It will sound ridiculous at first. You might find your self writing, “Mary had a little lamb. How did she ever find time to write about corporate buy-outs? What could she possibly have in common with those shareholders?” Still, those keyword prompts might get you on the right track. If not, the laughter will at least brighten your mood.
Rely on outlines to carry you through.
Can you at find enough motivation in you to lay out your main points? Drafting an outline can help put you on the right path toward completion. Just tell yourself that’s all you need to do right now. Who knows? Once you get the outline done, the rest may flow from you like wine from an uncorked keg. If not, you have a head start, anyway.
Do something physical.
There you are, fingers poised above the keyboard. Nothing’s coming to you. Your back aches. Your head aches. You can’t remember the last time you’ve been stuck like this. What’s more? Your publisher is e-mailing you every 5 seconds. She’s starting to sound like a kid on a road trip. “Are we there yet?” It’s time to get up and move around some. Do some jumping jacks. Run in place. Get the blood flowing. If you’re lucky, some of it will flow to the writing portion of your brain.
When all else fails, get caffeinated.
Normally, I stay away from chemical solutions. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Have a cup of coffee, tea or some other caffeinated drink. If you’d rather not, take some liquid B vitamins. The extra energy may be just the ticket you need to meet that deadline. Writer’s block is no match for a super-energized you.
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