As beautiful as your passion for writing and artistically expressing yourself through words sounds, being a writer can also be one hell of a stressful ride, can’t it?
Today’s reader expectation, criticism, the thirst to excel, etc. have all overshadowed what initially drove you to write, haven’t they?
And to make it worse, all of this is accompanied by that one thing—that one thing that is every writer’s worst fear: Writer’s Block.
Some people consider this to be a legitimate disorder while others call it a “phase”. Regardless of what you believe, it is a scary, stressful situation for you to be alone. But don’t you worry, because we have got you covered! In this article, we discuss everything one needs to know and follow about having writer’s block.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is writer’s block?
- 2 Why do you have writer’s block?
- 3 Psychology of writer’s block
- 4 Things that cause writer’s block
- 5 How can you overcome writer’s block?
- 5.1 1. Create a writing schedule/ routine
- 5.2 2. Try writing in bits and pieces
- 5.3 3. Use informal language
- 5.4 4. Take it easy on your first draft
- 5.5 5. Build confidence
- 5.6 6. Freewrite
- 5.7 7. Design the skeleton
- 5.8 8. Visualize your story
- 5.9 9. Change your perspective
- 5.10 10. Develop your characters
- 5.11 11. Write for yourself
- 5.12 12. Take a Break from the Internet
- 5.13 13. Start Writing Something Else
- 6 What you should know about writer’s block
What is writer’s block?
If you are reading this article, we are sure that you already know what writer’s block is. But just for the sake of all of our readers, let us go through it once again.
Writer’s block is the incapability to continue writing or start writing something new. The writer loses their ability to generate new work as they experience a creative stoppage. This inability to produce material does not come due to the lack of skill or commitment to writing. It is instead associated with being unable to come up with original ideas or finding it challenging to create content for extended periods.
Writer’s block is not approximated by the time going to waste due to the absence of drive but instead by the amount of productivity while working.
Why do you have writer’s block?
Let us start answering this question through a study conducted in the 1970s, by clinical psychologists, Michael Barrios and Jerome Singer. A group of writers that were suffering from related symptoms was studied for several months.
Finally, they concluded that the causes of writer’s block could be divided into the following categories:
- Fear of being compared to contemporaries
- Being too harsh on oneself
- Lack of recognition and appreciation
- Experiencing apathy and lack of motivation
To put it in other words, a writer’s block comes from a place of dissatisfaction when it comes to creativity and writing. Feeling this way may get overwhelming but lucky for you, this condition is rescindable!
Psychology of writer’s block
Writer’s block is a psychological inhibition that prevents a writer from continuing to finish their book. Many writers have experienced writer’s block at some point in their careers; sitting in front of your computer, gazing at a blank document for hours. Writing can be a stretch and you are most likely going to procrastinate. You have probably done everything to push your writing session further back, like watching TV, scrolling through social media, napping, etc. Sometimes, you are just not inspired. This happens to many creatives- artists, poets, musicians, and of course, writers.
You can call writer’s block an indescribable fear of writers to not be able to produce work that they are satisfied with. Starting with a project and sticking to it is surely challenging. It can be quite draining to continuously find inspiration for something your working on. Writing is a tough mental process and needs an intellectual, preceptive expenditure than a lot of other professions.
Regardless of whether this a psychological disorder or just a temporary way of feeling, there are several reasons that could cause writer’s block.
Things that cause writer’s block
Several reasons could potentially be why you are going through writer’s block. Go ahead and check out if you can relate to any of them!
Are you one of those people who strive for perfectionism? Do you try and picture the perfect image of your work in your head? And when you don’t, you lose motivation to start writing? If this is you, you do not have that much to worry about. Multiple writers struggle with achieving perfectionism because it can be rather time-consuming. Although In many ways, perfectionism is a great attribute to possess. We know it can get extremely frustrating but hang in there, it is a part of the process!
2. Fear of Failure
We know how competition has grown drastically in every part of our lives. It is exhausting to strive in the ocean of talents, longing for excellence. You probably have set goals that you are too afraid you will not reach. If this is what runs through your mind every time you sit down to start a book, fear of failure is possibly what is stopping you. This is one of the reasons why many talents writers never end up becoming writers.
Procrastination, that one common enemy that most writers confess to having. We are guessing you can list out a hundred reasons to delay writing; unfortunately, now is the time you have to deal with! To overcome writer’s block, you have to learn to try and eliminate this. It might sound confusing, but it is essential to try and accommodate that into a productive writing session.
4. Lack of focus
Is there something that draws your attention or disrupts your concentration when you sit down to write? There are several sources of distraction around you that could potentially hinder your writing. This could even involve social media or video games; you are tempted to get off your chair, which interferes with you finishing your book.
It is probably just not your time right now. This does not have to mean anything negative; it is only a time that needs to pass by. Your brewing ideas might just want a little more time to take shape before you pen them down. So, just relax and maybe don’t be so hard on yourself? Giving yourself time will allow you to produce some excellent work eventually!
How can you overcome writer’s block?
To be honest, this answer to this question is slightly complicated. There are multiple ways you can battle writer’s block, each of which will give you a different result. So, what you need to do is start experimenting, start exploring! You will surely find one or more ways that will help you overcome writer’s block. Ultimately, the secret is to find something that suits you the best.
We have listed down a few ideas that can help you start writing again:
1. Create a writing schedule/ routine
Some of you are probably thinking “Creativity is something that naturally flows, how do you expect me to construct a schedule around it?”. Well, you are not wrong.
But what is important to remember is the best kind of creativity is an outcome of having decent work habits. If you are going to wait until creativity knocks on your door, you are going to be in that dark room for a long, long time, my friend. Developing a realistic, strict work schedule is undoubtedly going to bring you the results you desire.
2. Try writing in bits and pieces
Starting to work right at the beginning can be super intimidating and scary, right? You are probably just sitting down and staring at all the blank pages that you still need to fill. If you are feeling this way, how about you DON’T start from the first page! Go ahead and work on the part that you can start writing about. By the end of it, you will have enough material to piece it all together and finish up your book!
3. Use informal language
If you are a writer, you have probably spent hours pondering over how you can perfectly pen down a particular idea you have. A lot of these attempts may have not always ended with you finding the right words. When you find yourself stuck in such a situation, fill the space with how you would talk about it informally and move on. This way, you will not have to put a halt to your entire writing process, and you can always come back to it when you figure out the right words to use.
4. Take it easy on your first draft
As we discussed earlier, perfectionism is a struggle. It becomes even more draining when you second-guess everything you have got in your first draft. What you need to understand is, this is only your first draft! Pressurizing yourself is one of the most common reasons for writer’s block. Try and loosen up and remember to enjoy yourself while you write. Your second draft will be closer to perfection.
5. Build confidence
Lack of confidence, self-doubt, uncertainty, and whatnot. All of these are enough to make shut your mind off from producing any more work. Even the most celebrated writers had trouble balancing their inner critic. To be a successful writer, you need to be able to acknowledge your inner critic, make corrections, and move on. That is a healthy way of going about it. Try not to make it a reason to make you give up and bring your writing to a halt.
Freewriting is writing continuously without a time limit, without having to pay attention to spelling, grammar, or the topic that you may end up producing. At the same time, freewriting might be entirely irrelevant, but that is not the point. The point is to start writing without being self-conscious or having second thoughts. This will give you momentum and bring you back on track.
7. Design the skeleton
If your story is starting to lose direction, pick it up by creating an outline of your idea. This will help you figure out the course of your account. It will not only enable you to overcome the current writer’s block, but you will also be able to prevent anymore that you may have in the future. Working on your story’s outline will help you achieve better story flow when you write to go from chapter to chapter.
8. Visualize your story
When you cannot find the right words to use for your story, just try and picture it. Visualize your story through drawings, maps, or even toys! You can also use sticky notes to keep a record of all the ideas you want to incorporate in your story.
9. Change your perspective
If you are blocked, think about your story from another perspective. This may help you get more ideas and move past your block. Think of ways you can accommodate the point of view of other characters in your book. Changing your perspective and seeing the story from different corners will help you generate new ideas.
10. Develop your characters
At the end of it, creating a connection between your characters and readers is the most important part of writing a book. This keeps your readers engaged and absorbed into your storyline. If the characters you have created are not properly defined, you will end up lacking material to keep your story going. Creating characters and giving them enough character development to make them relatable to real-life people is a great way to prevent writer’s block. Make a detailed character profile on which you can base off your story. Giving them a realistic, wholesome persona will enable you to add more depth to your story.
11. Write for yourself
Putting yourself under too much pressure when you write your book is one of the root causes of writer’s block. If constantly keeping your readers in mind while you write is putting you under that kind of pressure, just write for yourself. We know the stress of publishing and meeting everyone’s expectations can get extremely tiring. But this is exactly what you should avoid, saving yourself from a writer’s block. Now, forget about the market or publishing. Write in a way that will help you retrieve the happiness you got by being creative and unique!
12. Take a Break from the Internet
We all know the amount of distraction the internet can cause. If you think your willpower is not strong enough to be unaffected by the world of social media. Remember to keep your phone turned off and use your computer to only write until you finish your book. This will enable you to produce a faster and more productive writing session.
13. Start Writing Something Else
We know it is essential to develop the ability to push through what you are writing now. But this may not always be the most productive solution for you. If you have been stuck with the same piece for a while now, try writing something else. This will not only help you maintain your writing routine but also allow more flow of creative thoughts subconsciously. You can give yourself a break by starting something new and always come back to your current book when you are ready.
Here are some more creative ways that you can try out:
- Stroll in a park
- Attending exhibitions, carnivals, or any of your local events
- Running to get your blood and consequently, your creative feelings flowing!
- Play some games to relax
- Take a shower! Let your mind wander and develop creative connections
- Try a change in ambience
- Put on some good music
- Coffee! Caffeine really can help sometimes.
- Call people. This could be family or some old friends
- Nothing like some good old quotes to make you feel positive and confident!
What you should know about writer’s block
Writing is determination, patience, and hard work. Don’t make it harder for yourself by not doing anything about writer’s block. Try and find ways to make it better. Experiment methods that you think might suit you. The possibilities for improvement are endless but what is important is significant movements. You need to bring back your momentum and once you see yourself heading in a certain direction, you will be able to pick up speed again. And by the time you get back to normal, your block will be history.
If you still feel dissatisfied by the way things are going give it one more try. One of the best ways you can overcome writer’s block is something you have been avoiding this entire time. It is one thing you can try that has a 100% success rate. We know you may not want to hear, but you NEED to just write! Start somewhere, write anything. You will be surprised to see what happens. Don’t overthink it and make hasty decisions.
Remember to enjoy yourself while writing. Don’t write because you HAVE to, write because you WANT to. Avoid making excuses and procrastinating to avoid dealing with writer’s block.
Stephen King once said “Amateurs wait for inspiration. The rest of us get up and work.”
What’s common between amateurs and reputed writers is that they both face blocks. What makes them different is that one tries and pushes through the tougher times while the other just accepts the mental paralysis.
Last but not least. Do not be too hard on yourself. Do not beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself and have a little faith. It won’t be too long before you are up on your feet again.