I've never had it myself, but I can speculate on its cause and cure.
First off, it should more accurately be called brain block, as it happens to anyone trying to think of something.
It's nothing more than what I call pencil point mental focus. In other words, you have forced your brain to focus so sharply on one point, that it only sees what you already have in front of you, usually a blank page. Like staring so closely at a target you only see the red dot in the middle, while the surrounding red rings becoming invisible.
You are telling your brain that it must do something with whatever it is in front of you: blank canvas, paper, or stone. Yet you won't let it look away, to find materials to use.
You're practicing what I call negative meditation. You are consciously emptying your mind, but unlike normal meditation, you're locking it down, instead of freeing it up.
This is why the common advice for brain block has always been to walk away. Put the pen, brush or chisel down and relax. Do something unrelated to your problem. Let your mind wander around, relax!
Let's take a look at writer's block, since that is what most folks like to talk about.
First, you have two forms of it. The first form is the standard blank page where you are attempting to come up with a new story, novel, idea etc.
This is the easy one because you can do anything.
Simply start by looking around, slowly. As you move your eyes away from the paper, start to describe what you are seeing: paper, pen, table, floor, wall, window, etc.
Now follow the same route, but start walking and shrinking, and take a stroll across the page, then step over the pen lying in front of you. No, wait, you're still shrinking, it's the size of a fallen tree now and you have to roll over it like when you were a kid.
"That was fun." you think, running to look over the edge of the table and sliding to a stop.
"That's a long way down, wish I could fly" you say, just as your foot slips and you go over the side. Looking up, the table rapidly drifts into the distance, although you seem to be falling slowly. Suddenly you bump into something soft, a dust bunny, floating in the morning air. For a moment you watch as they drift all around you. Then you grab a big one as it comes close, then another and another. Soon you're dozing off on a mattress made of dust, drifting upward in the morning sun streaming through a window.
Now, I'll take a look at the hard one.
You've got a story or article in the works, but you are drawing a blank.
Tough luck, you're on your own on this one.
Just joking, lighten up! Relax!
Let's just take another stroll, this time through what you've already written.
Same as a blank page, look around, take a walk. Turn left instead of right, look up instead of down.
Ask a question.
What? Where? When? How?
Or start with an answer and follow it backward.
A body is in the woods.
How did he get there?
Was it someone who was out walking and just died? Did they kill themselves, did someone else, are they just sleeping? Is it a manikin left by kids pulling a prank?
Simply put, you toss all the rules out the window, and play with whatever pops into your head. In the process, your unconscious mind will work on the problem, looking at all this nonsense you are jotting down, and in no time you notice your thoughts drifting into the story you drew a blank on, just moments ago.
Instead of banging on a locked door, you simply walk around and climb in through the open window. And suddenly you see something in that blank page, canvas, stone or lump of clay.
Place Mark Books