When You Have Writer’s Block, Leave the House

Sometimes when I have writer’s block, I do one of the following: stare at the screen until a fog of an idea pops into my head, do a household chore (or two, or three!), browse the Internet for news, check my email, etc. I could go on. I could come up with a 1,000 more excuses for what I do when my idea well runs dry. Another activity I enjoy doing is to leave the house and … relax.

A few days ago when I had writer’s block, I decided to better acquaint myself with Orlando. As an Orlando resident for almost a year, I’ve visited plenty of restaurants, museums, attractions and shopping centers. However, if I’m going to write articles about life in Central Florida, I should go to a place I haven’t quite pounded the pavement of yet. So, after running a few mandatory errands like the bank and pumping gas in my car, I went to Park Avenue in Winter Park, a wealthy suburban city in the Greater Orlando area.

This is what the official website says about Park Avenue:

Central Florida’s shopping, dining, and cultural showcase, Park Avenue boasts more than 140 boutiques, sidewalk cafes, and museums. This signature shopping street is bordered by stunning oak-canopied Central Park which plays host to seasonal art shows, concerts, exotic car shows, and fashion events. Located minutes north of Orlando, Park Avenue is nestled in beautiful, historic downtown Winter Park, an exquisite blend of charm, style, and sophistication.

I’ve driven through Park Avenue on my way home a few times, but I never actually shopped nor eaten, so I decided to explore it. And since my daughter — who is on summer vacay from school — could benefit from getting out of the house, we made this a mother-daughter trip.

Familiarizing myself with Park Avenue was an incredible experience, and it lent to many ideas for future articles. My daughter had a gelato from Peterbrooke Chocolatier, I had coffee at Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen, we browsed few shops; and we walked past Hannibal Square. Sitting in the same place for hours suffering from writer’s block is tough, but as writers, it helps to get out of the house and some fresh air. And when we return, we can pounce upon that article, book or blog post with renewed fervor.

If you’re a beginning writer or are unsure whether you should pursue this, please do not interpret this blog post to mean writers should only work when inspiration hits them. That’s not the case at all. A writer should make time daily for shaping his/her craft, even if it’s to write a one-page answer to a prompt or editing and rewriting a first draft. In this post, I mean that in order for a writer to have material, he/she should experience life while seeking out ideas. Browse that new store in town. Sample new international cuisine. Take up a new class. Stuff like that.

Teresa Edmond-Sargeant is an Orlando, FL-based poet, author and former reporter originally from northern New Jersey. During her time as a journalist, she won two NJ Press Association awards. She is the author of her debut poetry book, “How Fate’s Confusion Connects” and a short story ebook “Eve the First”, now available on Amazon Kindle.  

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