When Life Gets In The Way – Writer’s Block and Creativity

time by
time by Sean MacEntee. CC BY 2.0.

Ever feel like there just isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish everything you’d planned?

Or worse, that there was enough time but you’ve squandered it, frittered away the hours doing God knows what when you could have been – should have been – writing, or reading, or doing anything but watching back-to-back episodes of The X-Files on Netflix? (Guilty as charged.)

When I started this blog, I had the best of intentions. I posted something new every week, and I had no problem coming up with the time or energy to maintain the schedule I set for myself. The same went for my writing – I worked on my current novel every day, rain or shine, without fail.

But somehow in the past couple of months, something changed…

Life got in the way.

First there was some day job stuff that took up a lot of energy.

Then I had knee surgery, and my convalescence ended up being longer than expected.

And then…and then…and then…

And then, nothing. “Regret for wasted time is more wasted time“*.

Over the past few weeks, there has been nothing and no one preventing me from pursuing my goals but me. But the thing is, the longer you let your ideas and imagination languish, the harder it is to get back up and keep going. So here’s how I gave myself the kick in the a** I needed:

1. No judgment.

When you know you’ve been procrastinating, and you feel bad about procrastinating, but somehow can’t make yourself stop procrastinating – don’t worry about it. Just don’t. Maybe you needed a little vacation, maybe you’re just being lazy, but it doesn’t matter. Judgment and self flagellation is just more wasted time.

2. Find inspiration.

Maybe you find it incredibly relaxing to be out in nature, like I do. Or maybe you get off on the hustle and bustle of busy city streets. Maybe you like to play video games, or read comic books, or listen to music to unwind. If you’re stuck in a non-creative rut, at least put yourself into a good headspace so that you’re able to create when the time comes. So if watching Netflix all day is your thing, go for it. But on the other hand, if it gives you cabin fever and makes you lash out like a rabid badger…you might wanna put down the remote.

3. Learn something.

Watch a documentary. Read a book. Browse Wikipedia for towns with weird names. Maybe even talk to someone new. With more resources for knowledge at our fingertips than ever before in the history of the world, don’t you think it’s kind of a sin not to learn just a little bit every day?

4. Create something.

It doesn’t matter if you make a craft out of macaroni and popsicle sticks, or if you paint a masterpiece. I believe that just the simple act of creating something – anything – because it’s fun, or interesting, or challenging will pay off hugely. There have been more studies done and articles written about creativity than I could ever hope to summarize (or fully understand), but the Wikipedia article on creativity is here for anyone who is interested.


* According to Wikipedia, Mason Cooley was an American professor known for his witty aphorisms (an original thought, expressed in a concise, memorable form). Also from his Goodreads page:

  • “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are”
  • “When you can’t figure out what to do, it’s time for a nap”
  • “If I can’t serve as a role model, let me serve as a warning”






Published by nicolarwhite

Author of romantic urban fantasy, science fiction, and mystery.

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