Writer's Block

14 January 2012

How does one cure Writer’s Block? For me, one sure cure is to stop writing. Step away from your desk, computer, piano, whatever you use to compose, and go outside. Take a walk in the countryside, as if you were Beethoven. Run, jog, bike, skate, go to the gym and take a class or lift weights or something, anything. I find I get my best ideas when I’m not thinking. How’s that for a paradox? I spent most of yesterday trying to get a new piece to take shape, and nothing came that was at all compelling. I packed up to go home, and during the 1-mile walk from my office to Grand Central Station a phrase came to me, and I found that very compelling. I jotted it down and I’ve been working with it ever since. The piece hasn’t taken flight yet, but at least it’s now taxiing along the runway and picking up speed.

It’s important to bear in mind that, as writers, we don’t necessarily create ideas. Ideas come to us, and we work with them, but I think the ideas come only when we’re receptive. It could be that when we’re distracted or otherwise engaged, that is when we are most receptive. Who knows?