The Great Wall by Clark HThere’s an idea that writer’s block is a myth. The reality is that no one can be creative all the time. When your brain needs to take a break from building new concepts, it takes that break whether you want it to or not.

I agree with this idea if for no other reason than I’ve never experienced writer’s block, but I’ve hit plenty of walls where my writing feels repetitive and mundane. Sometimes these walls appear when I have deadline after deadline for projects with a common subject or link. And sometimes walls appear when I have an open schedule with no assignments on the horizon at all.

So what is a writer, poet or journalist to do when a mental block leaves us unable to create?

The answer is different for everyone. We all have our coping methods, but for me, it all comes down to inspiration. A writer doesn’t need to be inspired to write, but a writer does need inspiration to be innovative. To move beyond the walls, I have to shake up my routine or I’ll only stall indefinitely.

Fortunately, my inspiration comes from a variety of sources — exercise, volunteering, art exhibitions, music, film. When my plate isn’t so full, it’s easy to enjoy these sources without succumbing to the fear of the clock. Time management is key, but not difficult.

Yet when my calendar is packed, sleep is sparse and emotions are high, taking the time to seek out my sources of inspiration rarely crosses my mind. That is, until my mind forces me to stop. Creating anything worthwhile during this time is near impossible.

I find only when I listen to my body and give myself permission to seek solace in what my heart wants, only then do I move past this wall. Brick by brick, I begin to get out of my own way and let my intuition guide me where I need to go.

It may sound ambiguous. It may sound a little too holistic for our fast-paced, need-it-now modern way of life. But my coping method has never steered me wrong.

Writer’s block has never been a problem for me. The problem arises when I try to force myself to create when my mind is telling me to stop, grow and reflect.

Moving beyond the wall takes time, commitment and self-awareness. But if you see your work suffering from creative paralysis, you owe it to yourself and your business to take a step back and find your inspiration.

Do you believe writer’s block is real?
How do you handle a creative slump?