Leonardo da Vinci once wrote that artists need to "Develop your senses - especially learn to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else." I've come to realize that writers most need to learn to hear.
Learning to hear isn't just about going out and listening to other people, though truly hearing others is a very valuable skill. I'm talking about learning to hear that voice inside. The one that yearns to communicate with you. The one that is the real you. My time in the startup world was filled with meetings, notifications, networking, and all the tech you can imagine. Part of my job as an investor was to understand and have a feel for where markets were headed and what would be the next big thing. So you basically give lots of things a try. Thankfully I'm curious and enjoy testing the things people build. How cool is it that we humans create so much!
What is frequently lost in all of our hyper connectivity is that connection to ourselves. If we ever had one. So I'm slowing down to relearn how to hear. Most of the time that means putting the tech away and not reacting to all the things vying for my attention. However, similar to muscle memory when you go to the gym regularly for twenty years, I'm recognizing that voice without having to shut off all the noise. Is it getting stronger or am I?
Some of my favorite ways to reconnect are related to water: swimming, paddle boarding, kitesurfing, or a few extra minutes in the shower if that's all I can spare. Knowing how to reestablish that connection when it's lost helps tremendously with writers block. Then you're back in the magic of the flow.