Therapy is all about learning. You learn about yourself and your process. Taking tips from the therapist’s couch can do more to smash writer’s block than a thousand inspiration boards on Pinterest. Some may leave you feeling a little vulnerable, but you can practice these techniques entirely alone, and the only one you’re baring yourself to is… yourself.
Mindfulness is nothing more than attention paid to your immediate situation. You don’t need to practice yoga or visit a hypnotherapist to develop some extremely useful mindfulness habits that will make your writing not only easier, but potentially better. After all, a writer’s voice grows from their perspective of the world around them. Mindfulness helps you see that world more clearly while learning to recognize and live with your own thoughts and emotions.
To work on mindfulness, just take some quiet time and ask yourself what you’re feeling, what you sense, etc. Try doing this when you sit down in front of your computer or notebook, but before you start writing. Accept whatever you feel. Are you anxious? Why? Whatever you’re feeling, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just keep asking yourself questions and follow them back as deep as you can.
Write Down Your Fears
Get as specific as possible. Most fears that get in the way of writing are just covering for something else. Or they may be considerably overblown. Are you worried that absolutely everyone will hate you if you share your work? Are you worried it isn’t better than the great classics of literature? Write them down. Look at them, and get some perspective.
So, you think everyone you know will hate your work, and by extension, you. Really? Everyone. Every person. Well, not every person. Cool. Which people, specifically? Do you have a reason to think they’ll hate you? Really? Why? Can you read minds?
You don’t know your work will be an instant classic. No one does. Is that really a good reason to not start?
Take Action Against Your Concerns
Once you know what you fear and have a handle on its origin, you can do something about it. When my fears grow into writer’s block, worries over quality usually drive them. I have a perfect vision of a completed manuscript and lose sight of the actual writing process. What if I mess up that perfect vision?
The trick is to change the vision. I lie to myself. I’m not writing a real book. No one is ever going to see it. It’s just fanfic for the story in my head. I’ll write the real thing later. I’ll just write something short.
Take Time for Health
Writing is a very cerebral exercise, but your brain is part of your body, and if you don’t take care of your body as a whole, your brain will suffer. Take care of yourself. You’re protecting future novels when you eat that salad, and you can chew over plot holes on long walks. Make sure to give yourself off days, too.
These few points can take many weeks to master, and you’ll get much more benefit if you visit a therapist on your own. The benefits of mindfulness and circumventing your anxieties only grow over time. You can start any time, and the only part of your mind with anything to lose is the dark corner that feeds your writer’s block.