“Everything begins with an idea.”
I’ll be honest. I really struggled coming up with an idea for this week’s post. I seem to have covered a lot already, even though I know there is a hell of a lot of other topics to write about. I felt like I’d hit a bit of a dead end and wasn’t entirely sure which direction to take this week. However, I was being a bit ridiculous and soon identified this very topic, the one that had been staring me in the face from the word go. How silly of me.
I think reaching a ‘dead end’ or a bit of a block can happen anywhere at any time. Obviously, for me this happens when thinking up new ideas for blog posts (God forbid) and when previously working on my stories. It’s a bit frustrating however. I usually have so many ideas for my stories, so I don’t really struggle in terms of things to write. For me, it tends to be more of how to put these ideas into practice, where to include these ideas and when they should occur. I sometimes reach this block and think, you know what, maybe this isn’t the right time to get those ideas down onto paper.
When are you most productive?
Okay, so everyone has a time of the day or a day in the week where they feel most productive. For me, it’s during a week day morning from about 9 am. Perfect for work, not so perfect when working on any of my own material. It feels rare when I actually get to work on some of my own stuff, feeling confident I’m in top writing mode. Yes, sometimes you have to slowly get in the zone which is more effort but if you can find the time you are most productive, this is a start.
I think the best way to work out when you’re most productive is to think about when you feel most alert and awake. It may be a different time from one day to the next, for example, first thing on a Monday morning might feel impossible to someone that’s not an early bird, but by the time Wednesday comes around, you might feel that much more brighter and able to get your head into gear that little bit more. Make a note of when these times are, and when looking back, you’ll hopefully be able to see a little bit of a pattern going on.
Get some inspiration.
Easier said that done, I know. However, feeling inspired is obviously going to spur you on a little. If your hobby is writing and you feel instantly stuck when you pick up your pen or turn on your laptop, the best thing to do is to get reading. Choose an author you love or someone whose work you admire and just read. You’ll instantly see the good in it and have a bit of a wow moment, hopefully something that will encourage you and give you some ideas. No matter what it is that you’re passionate about, there’ll be something related to that passion that you can use to get you back in the zone.
Okay, this part is for writers. I revisited my story after a huge break a while back and I had absolutely no idea where I was with everything. I forgot who my characters were, I had no idea how to finish the last chapter I’d started and I had next to no brilliant ideas for where to follow on. I was stuck. I was told about Free-writing and thought I’d give it a go and I was blown away! Through writing constantly for a set amount of time with no breaks or gaps, you find yourself almost forcing ideas out of your brain and coming up with things you would never have thought of before. Out of all the techniques I’ve tried, Free-writing is definitely one I’d recommend.
Take a break.
Having a break from your hobby can go one of two ways. You’ll either feel so relaxed and chilled about everything that you won’t think about recuperating from your ‘dead end’ feeling, or you’ll feel that, because you’ve had a little rest from constantly doing it, you’ll want to pick it back up again. Usually, the latter works so it’s definitely worth pursuing further.
I think taking that little bit of a break allows you to fill your head with different things instead of that one thing that occupies it for a lot of the time. Other things that are new and interesting. Of course, the thing you’re taking a break from won’t disappear entirely, but breaking off for a while at least can give you a fresh pair of eyes for when you finally do revisit it.
Talk to people.
Talking to someone you trust and getting their advice can work wonders. If you need something proof reading, looking at or you’re just after some much needed words of wisdom, the people who are closest to you can give you some help. You may be very pleasantly surprised; getting a fresh look on something can be just the thing you need to feel better about your passions and to get those cogs turning again.
Make sure you plan.
Planning is essential. Trying to work from nothing is difficult and when faced with a blank canvas, it can seem impossible to make any progress whatsoever. Planning your activities and tasks in advance will stop you from reaching that point of ‘now what?’ and always face you with something you can get on with. Something productive and pro-active. Keeping up with this will make all the difference.
It’s not easy to keep something up forever. It takes determination. It takes strength and passion. It’s easy to give up on something that takes effort, but not giving up on it will make you feel a million dollars.
How do you stop yourself from hitting that dead end? 🙂