Saturday, September 22, 2018
At the Chronicle of Higher Education, Professor Rachel Toor explains the six ways. Here are the headlines plus some brief elaborations:
- Work up a sweat. That inveterate walker, old Hank Thoreau, was just one among many who believed that physical activity leads to intellectual productivity:
- Take a quick trip. A change of venue often shakes things loose. Just a weekend away — camping or visiting friends and not thinking about work — can act as a restart.
- Just keep at it. It takes time, energy, and money to get out of Dodge. You might not have any of those. In that case, try sticking to your writing routine.
- Heed Anne Lamott’s clarion call. In her 1994 book on writing, Bird by Bird, Lamott offered her famous advice to write a "shitty first draft."
- Try the "compost" method. An environmental-historian friend gets unstuck using a similar process, which he calls "composting." He writes down a bunch of admittedly crappy ideas and then lets them molder. He mulls things over as he walks, and in the great pile of waste usually finds something worth cultivating.
- Remind yourself that even the best writers get stuck. Remember: Even when you’re not writing, your brain is still churning like a background app. It always feels like a gift when the ideas and the words start flowing again. It’s easy to forget how stuck you were. Life has returned to normal. We tend to take normal for granted and forget to count ourselves fortunate during good times.
You can read the full explanations here.