How often are you facing writer’s block and how bad is it? How much does it slow you down from achieving your goals? Do you have a technique to overcome it or you wait until it disappears by itself?
I started to think about this today, when I thought I have nothing to write about. So it turns out I do have things to write about, but they just don’t come to me when I would like them to come.
What is writer’s block?
Before we can get into the strategies of overcoming writer’s block, we firstly need to understand what it actually is. According to Wikipedia:
“Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown. This loss of ability to write and produce new work is not a result of commitment problems or the lack of writing skills. The condition ranges from difficulty in coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Writer’s block is not solely measured by time passing without writing. It is measured by time passing without productivity in the task at hand.”
So basically, writer’s block is different than procrastination and it cannot appear for those who don’t write (that was pretty much obvious). Writer’s block is when you sit down with your writing stuff in front of you and the words just don’t come out.
Why does it happen?
There are several causes why this happens:
- The writer lost the inspiration;
- The writer is distracted;
- The writer has personal external issues (e.g. losing someone, lack of money, a hole in the ceiling and so on);
- The writer has personal internal issues (e.g. depression, stress and so on).
How to overcome it?
As you can deduct from the causes, some can be overcome easier than others. This is why we firstly need to understand what is causing the writer’s block so we can apply the right strategy (if there is one).
1. The writer lost the inspiration
If the writer lost the inspiration, then she/he needs to use a process of getting into the writing mindset. The inspiration is not lost, in the true sense of the meaning of that word, but is more likely not visible, so the writer needs to shed some light on it. Meditation and changing the writing environment are huge helpers.
2. The writer is distracted
If the writer is distracted, then it is because of the environment. As I mentioned in my post regarding the importance of your writing environment, where you write is impacting the quality and the quantity of your writing.
You need to try to understand if something is different than usual and that’s what is causing your block, or if everything is the same, but nothing is inspiring, which can be changed by adding some inspiring things into your writing environment.
3. The writer has personal external issues
This is where the hard part starts. The external issues are usually creating some internal issues as well.
However, if the external issues don’t have a huge emotional impact (for example, the lack of money is indeed stressful, but it can also be motivating if you have a blog and your long-term goal is blog monetization), you can postpone those thoughts for another time. Just tell yourself: “This is not the right time. I’ll think about this issue tomorrow morning.”. It sounds silly, but it does work for me.
But if those external issues have a huge emotional impact, you can use those emotions for writing. Write down whatever your emotions tell you and you might be surprised about the results. Use writing as a form of free therapy.
4. The writer has personal internal issues
Mostly, if there is an emotional issue, the same thing as above applies. Those emotions need to be written down so the “owner” of them can see those emotions outside of their body. Writing gives a structure to those emotions and that structure can be the benchmark for getting better. Many therapy techniques involve writing as a form of therapy. Either by keeping those pieces or by tearing them apart, writing has a therapeutic effect.
However, if the internal issues are related to mental illnesses, I don’t think we are talking about writer’s block anymore.
In conclusion, I believe that we can overcome writer’s block by understanding the source of it. Sometimes, understanding the source can make writer’s block vanish.
How is writer’s block affecting you?
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