12 Most Mindful Ways to Let Go of Your Writing Ego
There are two words that make me cringe as a blogger: writer’s block. It can be hard to think of content ideas when the well seems to run dry. Even if we are ready to start writing we suddenly have to face down our inner editor. The whole process just comes to halt and there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do. In these cases you need to turn to the mindful ways of letting go of your writing ego. It is time to quell your writing demons by participating in these 12 exercises.
1. Write a disposable draft
My mother once gave me advice from her joke writing experience. She would write 30 gags. The first few would be obvious, the middle ones would be tough, and the last ones would be golden. Give yourself permission to write a few stinkers by intentionally throwing away your first drafts without revisions. Then just move on.
2. Study a successful blog
When reading a blog how often have you said to yourself,” I am a better writer them. Why don’t I have as many comments?” This is an act of defense but we can approach the situation with gentleness; try writing about what you learned by analyzing another blogger’s methods.
3. Run writing drills
In school we used to do timed math drills to memorize our multiplication tables. We had to solve as many problems as we could in a few minutes. We can do the same for our writing. Time yourself for a minute and see how much you can write. Set a goal to write a paragraph more every time.
4. Read an unfamiliar subject
This is about getting out of your comfort zone. The Journey into the unknown is a step on the hero’s path. By reading subjects that are unknown to us we can transform the creative process. These new concepts are tools we can put in our mental toolkit and use in our writing.
5. Do less
When was the last time you did one thing very well? There is a Youtuber with the username Northernlion who has created over a hundred videos playing the same game repeatedly. Although he has achieved every goal of the game he continues to make videos. He still averages about 11,000 views per update.
6. Pay attention
The Japanese Tea Ceremony has evolved beyond a social gathering to a meditative practice. We can apply the same idea to our writing by remaining present and aware. As you type ignore the words and pay attention to your breathing. Your focus may drift during this time to many details of our mind or back to the words on the screen. If it does shift the focus back to your breath and continue as before.
7. Free write
One way to break through your writing stalemate is to write a pile of gibberish. Be inspired by your anxiety and write the worst piece you can. It can be a stream of consciousness, off-topic, or a string of random numbers and letters. It is like a data dump for your brain.
8. Write in a different style
Do you always play by the “blogging” rules? Maybe it is time to start writing in Haiku. Or try your hand at writing a post that is a thousand words or more. This is a great way to shake up a normal routine. Perhaps you will even find your audience responding to a new style.
9. Think visually
Sometimes verbal methods won’t solve a problem.Even if graphics aren’t your strong suit try to convey your ideas in pictures. You may have a breakthrough by changing the context of the situation.
10. Take on a challenge
There always seems to be a blog challenge, carnival, or linkup going on somewhere. These exercises offer writing prompts. Which lessens the anxiety over coming up with an idea. They also offer support from fellow writers which can elevate our mood.
11. Use your hands
There are health benefits to handwriting because of the mind-body connection. We communicate differently when using handwriting then when we type. If you are facing a bout of writer’s block try writing in a journal with a pen.
12. Be imperfect
Sometimes obsessing over our content prevents us from ever getting anything done. We have to love our quirks. It is great fun to look over your imperfections after a year and see your gradual change. You can have a lot of empathy for your journey and use that knowledge to connect with your audience.
As you can see that these exercises boil down to a few points: technique, frame of mind, free writing and finally acceptance. We all have different and diverse styles. I am sure there are plenty more out there that can be added to the list. It is important to explore and find what ways work best for you.
What have you done in the past when faced with a writing block?
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