Camy here, and I’m going to sound weird here (nothing new), but the next time you have writer’s block, ask yourself, “Have I checked my writing space?”
I’m serious. Many times when I’m just staring at the blinking cursor (whom I have named Evangeline), I can’t move forward on the story because I’m simply uncomfortable, and it’s nagging at my unconscious.
I have battled ergonomics for most of my adult life (when I was a teen, I was stupid and am paying the price now). I can’t seem to get the right chair, the right height for my chair, the right back angle, and let’s not even start on my desk height and my monitor height.
My solution was to have a stand-and-sit situation at my desk, where my monitor, external keyboard, and external trackball are elevated on cardboard boxes at just the right height. No chair to mess with.
When my legs get tired, I simply move my monitor, keyboard, and trackball off the cardboard boxes (those get tossed on the floor) and sit at my desk for a few hours. This system has done wonders for my back (I have an old work-related injury).
Anyway, my point is that sometimes you can’t write because you’re ergonomically uncomfortable. There are several things you can do:
1) Get a new chair (this option is pricey)
2) Get an ergonomic keyboard and/or different mouse/trackball (not as pricey as #1, but not cheap, either)
3) Move to a different room with a different chair. My friends often talk about how they sit in a recliner with their laptops or Alphasmarts and write. Others sit at the kitchen table or on the couch.
4) Use an exercise ball as a chair. This is an ergonomically good and less pricey option, but be careful to get the right size ball—size depends on your height.
5) Stand at your desk like me. Cardboard boxes are cheap.
6) Go for a walk. Friends of mine who suffer from back problems say that no matter how expensive their chair, they have to go for a 10 minute walk every hour to loosen up their back. Then they can go back to work. This keeps them pain and tension free.
Another thing to think about your writing space is:
a) Is it too cluttered? I am one of many people who have a hard time writing if my desk is too messy or my office too cluttered. A few minutes cleaning could help you break past a writer’s block.
b) Are you too cold/hot? Often I won’t even realize I’m too cold and that’s why my brain has frozen, too. For summertime, I have a small fan that I turn on in my room to keep me from sweating into my keyboard (oh, is that TMI? Sorry)
c) Is your workspace too dark or too bright? Artists are often sensitive to light, and a dark room can often send your creativity into hibernation, or an overly bright room can fry your brain.
d) Is there too much or too little noise? Or maybe the wrong kind of noise? Some writers like music, some don’t. Some like music without words, some like music with words. If you don’t know your preference, figure it out—it might help boost your creativity and get you out of a writing slump.
Also, if you need silence, it might be worth it to invest in some sound-canceling headphones. Compare the price of the headphones with the counseling bills for your sanity and/or the nice advance you’ll get for the brilliant novel you crafted in perfect silence.
Any other ideas?
Camy Tang writes romance with a kick of wasabi. Her novel Single Sashimi is out now, and she runs the Story Sensei critique service. In her spare time, she is a staff worker for her church youth group, and she leads one of the worship teams for Sunday service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things. Sign up for her newsletter YahooGroup for monthly giveaways!