I was sitting outside a local downtown Raleigh coffee shop recently, doing some work. I typically work from my home office, but on this particular day, it made more sense to work remotely.
I swear, the fact that it was 75 degrees and sunny had nothing to do with it.
The words for a press release, previously coming as though yanked out with pliers, were now easily hatching like little eggs at my fingertips. Some days you’ve got it. Some days you don’t.
Unfortunately, you have to write every day. At least when it’s how you make a living.
So when the words aren’t flowing like a river— or all you’re getting are those ugly clichés — here are some ideas for birthing your brilliance in a less laborious fashion:
1. Change. Relocating to another scene can sometimes make all the difference. Some days, I work productively from my home office and other days, I can’t sit still in the desk chair long enough to do anything but Facebook. Working outside can be appealing, but on distracted days, that has its own problems. The white noise of a coffee shop or the downtown streets can be soothing sometimes; other days, the silent tomb among the tomes (the library) provides the perfect environment. Find the right location to find your flow for the day.
3. Breathe. Open a window. Tweak the thermostat. Take a deep breath. Back to point No. 2, your brain needs some oxygen. Smell is one of the strongest senses connected to your memory and for me, it often inspires some brain flow. Fresh air or some new smells (walk by a bakery) can help inspire words to the page.
4. Wander. Mentally, that is. If you’re having trouble with that release or blog post, let your brain wander where it will. Tuck the topic at hand somewhere in the back as you wander. What ideas come to you? What happened to you this week that is on your mind? At some point, slowly try to wander back to the place you started. Can you work that experience or those words into your work? Can you focus on the job at hand now that you’ve given your mind free reign?
5. Just write. Free form writing is no secret, but have you actually tried it? When frustration finds me, I break down and just start typing anything. I start with whatever I’m thinking — even, “Wow this is really dumb i can’t believe i can’t write today” and just keep going. Soon, I’m back to the topic, just tossing out related words or phrases. Maybe a sentence or two. I can’t promise this will always work, but if nothing else, I get something down on the page and can come back to it tomorrow.