Writers Block? Try Something New
I loved college. I was learning new things everyday, both inside and outside the classroom. I took everything from astronomy to modern dance. I got my first apartment and had to learn how to cook for myself and support myself. I took the opportunity to study abroad – in Zimbabwe! I joined groups and had different jobs. I tried everything that even remotely appealed to me, mostly to figure out what I really like. And, let’s face it, who I really am. It was a chaotic time, but that was okay because there was nothing holding me down and the only person I really had to answer to was myself.
Oh how times have changed! Now I have a husband and family, a mortgage, a business, a retirement account. Sound familiar? Somehow, these things take over our lives. Or rather they become our lives. What’s the difference, really?
For many of us, this is the life we wanted. This is the life we have built through sweat and tears. So what’s the problem with it?
The problem is that if you are living a relatively static life, it is difficult to see beyond your own circumstances. It can be hard to harness your creativity and passion. It’s hard to come up with new content when you are always doing the same old thing.
My first career was in the field of experiential education. It sounds pretty academic, I know, but stick with me. I managed study abroad programs in Africa, India, and Chicago for college students. I loved these programs because they highlighted the fact that learning and growth happens just as much outside the classroom as it does inside the classroom, if not more!
To continue our own personal growth throughout our lives, all we need are new experiences that expand our knowledge of the world around us and challenge us to figure out how we fit into it. New experiences take us out of our comfort zone, challenge our assumptions, change our perspective.
When was the last time you tried something new? Really engaged with the culture of a place you visited? Did something challenging that made someone else say “Wow!”
I spent a year in Switzerland with my family recently, which was like a built-in experiential education program. Skiing and hiking in the Swiss Alps, weekend trips to European cities, and learning a new language were just the icing on the cake. For me, the daily challenge of making sense of another culture, relearning how to do everyday things a different way, and helping my kids to negotiate life reminded me of my strength and gave me a new perspective.
During such an experience, I always had new ideas for things I wanted to write about and share with others who weren’t able to experience it. It is great for opening up your mind and igniting a new voice with which to share your message and expertise.
You don’t have to leave the country to create new, meaningful experiences. There are a multitude of opportunities just waiting for you if you are ready to find them.