What causes writer's block? A lack of sensuality.
What causes writer's block is relying more on your mind than you do on your body.
Last year, a client, *Joy, came to see me with a case of writer's block. She wondered why she would spend weeks working on a piece without really getting to the heart of what she wanted to say.
What frustrated Joy was that, although she had made great strides with her writing process, she felt that her written voice lacked soul. Joy developed a laser-sharp focus for her ideas, built a strong sense of discipline and a powerful intention statement for her writing... Yet, something was missing.
As we examined her recent article on plant-based nutrition together, I noticed that it was full of sage advice and compelling facts. But, we both struggled to feel the emotion behind her words.
I asked Joy to put the article aside. I had her pick out one defining moment that led her to want to write this piece. Then, I asked Joy to focus on a sensory experience that gave that moment its power.
She decided to focus on the taste of her first garden-fresh tomato. This detail completely transformed her relationship with food and led her to become a holistic nutritionist. Breathing new life into Joy's article, her description of the tomato's flavor conveyed the joy of a plant-based diet. It infused her expertise with deep emotional resonance—and several of her readers remarked on how they couldn't wait to experience garden-fresh produce for themselves!
Now, Joy reports becoming more mindful of when she gets "stuck in her head" with her writing. She is now able to balance her facts and wisdom with sensual details so that her writing engages more readers.
What causes writer's block is an omission of the senses. What you see, hear, smell, touch and taste gives your writing emotional impact.
If you find yourself struggling to make an impact with a piece of writing, ask yourself: What sensory memory emerges whenever I think of my intention for writing this piece?
Your sensory memory may not have a clear connection to the piece you're writing right away. If that's the case, simply set aside 15-30 minutes (or more) to write about that memory as it relates to your intention for the piece. The connection should eventually emerge; if it doesn't, choose a different memory. Consider enrolling in my free "How to Slay Writer's Block" course (below), as it will give you guidance on how to write impactful content using sensual details.
And/or, describe your intention for your piece to a trusted friend, including one to three key supporting ideas. Have your friend reflect back to you the details that resonate with him/her the most. Then, see what personal stories and experiences relate with those details. Expand on one of the stories you describe that resonates with you the most, remembering to include sensual language. Then, see how you could incorporate that story into your piece.
Know that authentic writing is something you embody. Take note of the physical, sensual aspects of your experience and how they relate to what you want to write. These aspects are what capture your voice and the soul of your work.
*I have changed identifying details to protect client confidentiality.