Writer’s Block: I’ve seen some authors criticize the perpetuation of this concept, claiming that it doesn’t exist. Perhaps we haven’t been able to agree on a definition, or perhaps there are people who don’t experience it. Nevertheless, I am going to define it on this blog and explain how I experience it and overcome it.
What does “writer’s block” mean to me? Writer’s block can be one of three things:
- You have an idea in your head, but you struggle getting words on a page.
- You can’t think of an idea, or your creativity has hit a low point.
- You are overwhelmed with so many ideas that you can’t pinpoint one to focus on.
The first definition is what I experience the most. I always have ideas, but, as I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, perfectionism often slows me down. I want to get my story right the first time. Once in a while I will pull up my novel on my computer and read it over and over with the intention to continue where I left off. However, when “writer’s block” strikes, reading and editing is all I can do. My brain is clouded; I can’t focus. My will to continue shrinks. I can’t compel myself to type words.
Writer’s block is not a disease. It is possible to overcome it. When I am suffering under a storm cloud of doubt, and writing becomes about as fun as pulling teeth, I edit what I’ve already written, read something, or take a nap instead. One of those alternative activities either works, or I run out of time in the day to write and start fresh the next day. No biggie.
My creativity has never hit a low point, but I can imagine how it must feel. Here’s how you can ameliorate that problem: read a book, watch a movie/tv show, take a hike out in nature, or listen to music. Your well may be dry, but there are ways to fill it up again. Don’t be in a rush, though. You can’t accelerate creativity. Take your time, go easy on yourself, and daydream. Busy yourself with another hobby until that itch to write manifests itself. If you are under a time constraint, ask around for inspiration.
If you have the opposite problem of too many ideas, you can research which idea might be most relevant, popular, or marketable and focus on that. Or you can write a list of all your ideas and rank-order them from best to worst. You can combine all of your ideas into one. You could even have your friends or family vote on which one they like the most, or write 5,000 words based on each idea and see which one catches fire. There are a million things you can do to overcome this issue.
In short, writer’s block exists, but, sadly, it is not the end of the world. Writing is always hard work, and sometimes it will feel impossible. So what? That’s what makes it so rewarding in the end.
What do you think? Do you ever experience writer’s block? Or do you see it as a lame excuse for laziness and unproductivity? Let me know in the comments!
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