I’m not totally convinced that Writer’s Block is a thing, but lack of inspiration is definitely something that every writer struggles with at some point.
Thankfully there is a scientifically proven method to get yourself out of the creative doldrums, and it’s something that’s cheap, convenient and accessible to everyone.
Ready to hear the big secret? Excited for this arcane knowledge drop?
Here it is….
- Step one: Stand up from your desk (or step away, if you’ve a standing desk)
- Step two: go to the nearest exit
- Step three: go outside
It’s really that simple. Nature is the best, easiest and fastest cure for Writer’s Block.
A 2012 study from the University of Kansas found that a team of backpackers were 50 per cent more creative after four days on the trail.
Discussing the study results, KU’s Chair of Psychology Ruth Atchley said:
“Nature is a place where our mind can rest, relax and let down those threat responses. Therefore, we have resources left over — to be creative, to be imaginative, to problem solve — that allow us to be better, happier people who engage in a more productive way with others.”
Nature changes the way we think. It lowers our stress levels, makes us more attune to positive emotions and actually meddles with our brain waves to lower frustration and distracted thinking.
All of which promotes problem-solving and creativity and dovetails nicely with the daily routines and writerly habits of some of your favourite novelists.
CS Lewis loved wandering my hometown stomping ground of the Holywood Hills in Northern Ireland.
And Charles Dickens was supposedly a guy who liked to get up from his desk and ramble.
Ernest Hemingway liked getting out on his boat to fish, Beatrix Potter was a big fan of gardening and the Bronte sisters all loved roaming across the Yorkshire Moors.
Based purely on my own anecdotal evidence, I get it. The past few weeks have been a bit of a creative wasteland for me, but this weekend marked a turning point.
Why? Because I explored the great outdoors. And I’m lucky enough to currently be based somewhere particularly stunning:
Yep, that’s Western Canada. She’s nothing if not inspirational.
But you don’t need mountains. Just nature. A patch of grass, a pond, some trees. It all counts.