What exactly is this mysterious affliction that paralyzes even the best writers in the world?
Well, I suppose it depends who you ask. Ask twenty people and you’ll get twenty different answers. (The same scenario for fixing the issue applies to that statement, as well.)
However, the most common thread is the inability to move your writing forward. It could be a plot hole you can’t fix despite days of mulling it over. Maybe, words simply won’t come to you, no matter how often you slap your forehead and moan with frustration.
What Is Writer’s Block?
Most of you have heard of, read about, or experienced, writer’s block already. It is a phenomenon best described as an overwhelming feeling of being stuck in the writing process without the ability to move forward. Basically, you can’t write anything new.
Does that sound familiar? Perhaps this—have you ever sat there staring at a blank page, trying to write but cannot find the right words? Well, friend, you’re not alone. All writer’s struggle with it, from bloggers to journalists to novelists. Some people believe that writer’s block stems from a lack of ideas or even talent. Generally, that’s not the case.
Now, let’s look at some things that may help:
- Do not wait to feel ‘inspired’ to write. Stephen King admits he writes 2,000 words a day, nearly every day of the year with very few exceptions. Be like Stephen! It will keep your idea or story fresh, your skills sharp, and you’ll be amazed at how fast your project can go.
- Workspace is very important. Going back to Mr. Stephen King for a moment, he is very comfortable with his feet up on an old desk and familiar clutter around him. Others, shudder at the thought of such a sight. They are neat, organized, and can barely think if a pencil is out of place. So, does your space put you in a good frame of mind? If not, that could easily be an issue to fix to let the creativity flow again.
- Unless you are under a deadline to be published, (not a self-imposed one) simply walk away. Seriously. You could easily be overthinking the problem, which in turn creates an even bigger block. Close your laptop and leave it. For how long? I’ve gone for two or three days at a stretch. But, it may only take a few hours.
- Deal with life. This always takes your mind from the issue. Kids, pets, work, visiting friends or family, or living in general, can be taxing on our thoughts. So, forget the novel or article and move on with what needs done. You’ll find as your mind processes things around you, the block may vanish on its own once you return to writing.
- Exercise is awesome! No matter what it is. Jogging, weightlifting, yoga, swimming, hiking, or you name it. Your body loves to have a release and it certainly helps the creative juices flow.
- Hobbies can work wonders, just like exercise. Knitting, crafting, gardening, art, cooking, anything to release your mind from the mental process of writing. (Listen carefully, I can hear that writer’s block crumbling and falling away into tiny pieces.)
- My favorite is, reading. Yep! Pick up a new book, or an old favorite, and get busy! You’d be surprised how many new ideas spring into your head as the pages turn. Of course, I’m NOT implying to steal someone else’s plot line, but your block can be broken with a good novel.
- Distractions are the downfall of many a good writer. Stop messing with your social media feeds as you write, turn off your cell phone ringer, turn off the television, find a quiet space, or make sure the kids are off to school or sleeping. Solitude is the key for many. As a note, being a ‘morning writer’ has advantages, since your brain is not swamped with the happenings of life just yet. But, it’s not for everyone. Find a time and place that works best and your ideas will be blasting from orbit like the Enterprise! (I had to throw a Star Trek reference in there!)
- Lastly, let go of the pressure! It’s okay to be flawed. Your draft will NOT be perfect. (Actually, it’s not even possible to create such a beast on the first time around.) Also, do not get caught up in the trap of comparing yourself to other writers. Just do YOU! Having feelings of inadequacy in grammar or style will put up an enormous block.
- Have faith in yourself, friend.
There are many methods used to move past a block. Use what works best for you. In this article we are merely offering some trusted techniques. Hopefully, one or more, will work for you.