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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

The Insomnia Cure for Writer’s Block


Insomnia: the frustrating and painful condition of wanting and needing to change your state of consciousness and being unable to do so.

Writer’s Block: the frustrating and painful condition of wanting and needing to change your state of consciousness and being unable to do so.

In both insomnia and writer’s block, you can’t make the shift to the dreamspace of your unconsciousness because your rational brain, aka your ego-mind, won’t shut up and surrender control.

The upside of this is that since insomnia is like writer’s block in significant ways, the non-pharmaceutical solutions for overcoming insomnia can be applied to resolving writer’s block and other forms of writing resistance.

The next time you want to shift into the creative flow state or writer’s trance and find your ego-mind (or monkey mind) won’t let go, try any of these solutions:

  • Physical and mental relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxations, self-hypnosis, doing something to relax your mind
  • Guided imagery or visualization
  • Repeating a mantra like “breathing in, I know I’m breathing in” (equivalent to counting sheep)
  • Abdominal breathing deep and slow
  • Refrain from using your writing space for other activities; don’t pay bills, check emails, do other work, etc. in your writing space (equivalent to don’t use your bedroom for watching TV, reading, etc.)
  • Have a routine and write at the same time every day (equivalent to go to bed at the same time every night)
  • Observe and use the foods that help you shift into the writing trance; observe and avoid the foods that interfere with writing (caffeine, alcohol)
  • Keep a writer’s journal (equivalent to a sleep diary)
  • Make your writing environment comfortable and free from distractions
  • Get regular exercise
  • If you can’t write, leave your writing space and do something relaxing like yoga or creative process (coloring, doodling, knitting, etc.) for about 15 minutes, then go back to your writing space (equivalent to if you can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something relaxing for 15 minutes, then go back to bed)
  • If the problem persists, get professional help from a writing instructor or creativity coach (equivalent to going to a sleep lap, although coaching is less scientifically vigorous)

Please comment to let us know which of these or other methods have worked for you – to cure insomnia or writer’s block.

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7 Comments on “The Insomnia Cure for Writer’s Block”

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