Beating Writer’s Block—by Not Writing

Exhibit A: Earrings

I’ve been having some issues with writer’s block lately, so I decided to write about writer’s block. Then I got writer’s block regarding my post about writer’s block. (Insert Inception joke here.) Just to put some icing on the cake, I’m also teaching a class about how to deal with writer’s block at Savvy Authors in May.

What have I done to myself?

I think I’ve given myself writer’s block.

Anyway… Over the last few days, I’ve managed to get pen to paper again and found some words coming out. Not a huge number, although I did squeak out about 800 today, which is a vast improvement over none. And I’m beginning to wonder if it’s because of the Sculpey.

What does Sculpey have to do with writing, you ask? Well, I have no idea. It’s just a theory. But recently, getting frustrated over my lack of wordflow, I got a sudden urge to buy either a cake decorating set or a stack of Sculpey bricks. The Sculpey was cheaper and has considerably fewer calories, so, armed with a coupon, I marched into Michael’s and bought a box of assorted colors and a book featuring Very Impressive Sculpey Art I Will Never Be Able to Do.

And I made some earrings.

Two days later, I started writing again.

Coincidence? Maybe. But I’m going forward on the theory that there’s a cause/effect relationship here. I was feeling blocked, so I looked for another creative outlet. I found one, expressed it, and in the midst of finding some form of creative zen, the words started flowing again.

It’s made me wonder if this kind of thing has happened in the past, and I just haven’t put two and two together. I frequently get obsessed with creative things. I’ll go into a craft store and buy a bunch of colored pencils, or watercolors, or a stack of pastels. One time I went on a rubber-band-bracelet kick. It’s as if sometimes my brain needs a swift kick in the creative rear—or a break from the particular creative demands of writing.

Let’s face it—writing a novel is a long-term proposition. It takes tens of thousands of words all strung together in an order that (hopefully) makes sense. You have to stay focused for weeks and months and even years sometimes. There are a gajillion small details. So maybe our muses get intimidated, and approaching another art form helps soothe them. Think about it. I made a pair of earrings a couple nights ago. It took me less than an hour. I have a final product I can do something with. It was physically soothing and achieved a nice result. That’s a lot different from putting one word after another for weeks and weeks before I can slap “The End” on a book.

Many other forms of creativity are also more physical. Putting paint on a canvas. Smooshing pastels into a piece of paper. Kneading bits of clay. Knitting a sock. They’re meditative, too, and in many cases while you’re creating a smaller, more physical project, the writing part of your brain can wander around and play with ideas while you’re not really paying attention.

I think it just might have been the key (although I hope it doesn’t stop working now that I’ve made that connection). So next time you’re feeling like the writing isn’t quite clicking, maybe give it a try. Buy a bar of Sculpey, or just bake up some Play-Doh. Draw some birds or paint a picture. See if it shakes the words loose. It’s worth a try, and even if doesn’t take care of the writer’s block, you’ll still have something to show for it.

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Katriena Knights
I am a full-time writer and editor with over three gajillion published novels/novellas/short stories/what have you. My latest book is Summoning Sebastian from Samhain Publishing. I live in the mountains of Colorado with my kids, numerous pets, 4,000 mice and about 9 million voles. Also spiders. Why do I live in Colorado again?

For more about me, my stories, and my dubious life choices, drop by my Patreon site at patreon.com/katrienaknights or my twitter at twitter.com/crazywritinfool or any of the other popular social media destinations listed in this profile.

4 thoughts on “Beating Writer’s Block—by Not Writing

  1. What fun, Katriena! Perhaps that’s why I like to try new recipes in the kitchen. I think you’re onto something bigI –Guess that means you’ll be toting some jewelry kits to your May class. 🙂

  2. This is why I have several bins full of colorful yarn, just in case. And I keep a tote bag full of art supplies in my office closet. And a pile of sheet music by my keyboard. And my camera is on the end table with its battery newly charged.

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