Writer’s block is a tool — use it. When asked why you haven’t produced anything lately, just say, “I’m blocked.” Since most people think that writing is some mystical process where characters “talk to you” and you can hear their voices in your head, being blocked is the perfect cover for when you just don’t feel like working.
Colson Whitehead, author/educator
I rarely have blogger’s block, the equivalent of writer’s block for bloggers. In fact, my problems is usually that I have too much to write about and can’t choose which one to prioritize. Yet, there are times when I just don’t feel like working. It isn’t that I’m not inspired. I just need some selfish time, time away from what I’m doing. I find that time is actually healing, giving me fresh insight for when I return.
There are authors and writers who’ve truly suffered from writer’s block. Often it is self-doubt, stress, pressure, and anxiety getting in their way rather than their imagination going on vacation. Sometimes vacation is what the imagination needs, which is the subject of this blog exercise.
I find myself the most inspired when I travel, when I leave the confines of my day-to-day life and push my comfort zone around. I don’t have to get on a plane. I don’t have to spend much money. I can drive to a park I’ve never been to and take a walk through it, visit a tourist location in town and play tourist, or camp in my back yard.
Disruption shakes up conventional thought. Find ways this summer to disrupt your thinking, your process, your habits, your norms.
As you plan your summer vacation, find ways to push around those comfort zones to stretch yourself – and your blog.
Your blog exercise today is multi-fold. Begin to stretch your bloggy parameters by planning an outing this week. It may be for a few minutes to a couple hours, or possibly overnight. You don’t have to go far and it doesn’t have to cost much.
For me, I’ve planned to head into the Chinatown District in Portland, Oregon, to visit a friend who owns a restaurant there. I asked him to teach me how to play Chinese Chess months ago. Everything has gotten in the way, so this week I’m going to make time in my busy schedule to eat their glorious food and spend an hour or two learning a game I’ve never played. For those few precious hours, I will be transported to China, eating home-cooked native food and drinking luscious Chinese tea and learn to play a complicated board game.
The next part of this assignment is to look at your summer plans. You have probably already scheduled your trips for the summer. Now is time to look at them from a different point of view.
Look for ways to purposely disrupt your plans. Disasters and vacation nightmares are tradition. Ignore those. Look for ways to do things different from how you’ve done them in the past.
If this is a vacation to spend time with family, use your social networks to find someone new or whom you’ve only met online and not in person who lives in the same area and arrange a coffee or informal meal together to get to know each other in person – spending time with someone who isn’t family.
If this is a vacation to a traditional spot, hit the tourist guide books and sites and find something special about the place that you haven’t explored before. Once we are familiar with a place, we rarely push out beyond our familiar borders, so push.
Taking the family with you when you go? How can you include them in this boundary pushing adventure? Lead by example. Show them that change is a good thing, and that you are open to new ideas and perspectives.
Take massive notes. Pay attention to everything. Write down all the ideas that occur to you for your site. If you have time, write out the bones of the concepts and stories along the way. It’s break time for your mind, but the blogging in your head doesn’t stop. Don’t stop it. It makes it harder to restart. Keep the flow going.
Share your thoughts or concerns about this blog exercise below. For many of you, this is a natural way of life, shoving your comfort zone around. For others, this might be hard, risky. Push anyway.
Wish to blog about this? Remember to include a hat tip link back to this post to create a trackback, or leave a properly formed link in the comments so participants can check out your blog exercise task.
SNEAK PREVIEW: I’ll be putting all these blog exercises together in a rough draft ebook by the end of the month or first part of July and make it available for download. Stay tuned for news and details on getting a free copy!