Writer’s Block can be a dangerous thing to a writer. We’ve all experienced it. The greats and the not so greats. But what is it about this Writer’s Block that’s so scary and dangerous? Well for starters, we’re writers. You and I. We write, we love to write, we live to write. We call ourselves writers, but if we have nothing to write, then what are we? If writing is our life but we can’t put down words, then what else do we have? I believe that’s why it’s so scary to most.
I believe there’s different types of Writer’s Block though. There is Self Imposed and there is just Imposed. There is the physical and the mental. The physical is the most common: You’re writing a story, plugging along, when all of the sudden you can’t think of a single word to put down next. You’re completely stuck and blocked up. Nowhere to go. Now although this has to do with thinking, it’s not the mental block part. Funny how those things work.
The second, and I think scarier of the two, is the mental block. Both can be dangerous and both can be scary, but the physical block seems easier because you can just wait it out if need be. At least for me that is. With the mental block there’s so much more underneath. It’s a more self imposed though process than the physical.
Here are a few types of Self Imposed Mental Blocks I tend to get, and how I deal with them:
Worried What Others Might Think
Problem: Other people may read your work. Especially if you are blogging, it is inevitable. You’re worried that others will see your work and criticize you for what you have written. I for one am afraid that people just won’t like what I have to say, be it fiction or writing tips. You also may be scared to write non fiction about people you know. Or even fiction, basing a character or event on a real life occurrence. What if they see it and know it’s about them? How will this affect them or hurt them?
Solution: Don’t over think. I will say this a lot. In fact I’ll say it again right now. Don’t over think. While you’re writing, just let the writing flow. Let it take you where ever it might. Be it talking about your best friend who stabbed you in the back. Or the local barista who smelled like eggs. Yes, someone may read it. But you should care only for yourself and the quality of your work. Save feelings for after it’s written. If you write the entire story and you feel it would bring negative feedback or might be too harsh, you can always leave it in your computer or in the notebook for some time, returning to it later with a new outlook on the situation. Don’t over think.
Anxiety To Write Your Best
Problem: We are constantly told to do our best. From childhood it’s made pretty apparent that to get anywhere in the world, we have to be our best. This can be very harmful to a writer’s, already fragile, psyche. We strive to be our best and this can block us in our work. We can get stuck rewriting the same paragraph or even sentence for hours. Searching for that perfect word in a thesaurus. Anxiety is not the writer’s friend, but if you can learn to move past it, it shan’t trouble you any longer.
Solution: Don’t over think. Let the words just flow from your fingers. Anything you write, look at it as a first draft. As a rather ugly piece of clay that is just in the beginning stages of being molded into a beautiful sculpture. First drafts have been called barf, crap, and just plain shit. So let it be. Why not try an exercise to liberate yourself? Try writing the worst piece of crud you can, filled with grammar and spelling mistakes, ugly prose, and even failed sentence structure. Then look at it in all it’s shitty glory and love it for what it is. A shitty first draft, that you can then edit and form into the final product. Don’t over think it. If it flows, just let it and stop worrying about being your best.
Finding The Right Topic To Write About
Problem: You have too many ideas on what to write about. Or perhaps your blog is mostly a writing blog of fiction, but you want to write about your personal trials and tribulations with writing. Or even cooking for that matter. You want to write something, maybe something different then the usual stuff you write. But it just won’t flow or you’re afraid to write outside that comfort zone you’ve established.
Solution: Don’t over think. Are you beginning to see a pattern here or is it just me? If you want to write about something different so be it. Let those creative juices free. It’s better to follow your heart when writing than to bottle it all up inside. And it’s better to write from the heart. So if you realize it’s time you made a post about cooking on a completely writing blog, so be it! If that perhaps isn’t exactly what you’re going for, many blogging platforms make it extremely easy for you to make a new blog in seconds. So that way you can have your cooking and writing blog at the same time. Sometimes it’s nice to just open up a blank document and write about anything you wish. It’s freeing and lets any blockage that may be stopping you out.
Feeling Like Your Writing Is Going Nowhere Fast
Problem: This is probably the most difficult and closest to the physical block of all. You’re writing, and it seems to be flowing alright, but it’s not going anywhere. You’re writing yourself in circles, coming back to the same topics, or the same phrases. You can’t think of a single new thought or idea and you’re completely stuck with the same junk you’ve been writing.
Solution: Don’t… do drugs. Ahhh, I got you that time. No but really, Don’t over think. Try not to think to yourself, “Oh this is no good!”, “I’ve done this all before”, or what I tend to do “Why would you even write that again?”. This one is a bit harder to solve though. Try stepping away from that topic, project, or post for a while. Writing something new. Completely new, like different plan new. Maybe start a cooking blog? You could also try to imagine the post already written, the story already published. Imagine it in all it’s new and interesting wordy glory. Now visualize yourself writing it. Now actually write it. Don’t TRY to come up with new topics and words. Just let the writing come to you, let it flow over you. Don’t over think it.
Well, I hope some of these tips have helped you. I still get Self Imposed Blocks sometimes too, but these tricks have helped me through a lot of it. Let me know if they help you through it too.
Have any other tips you’d like to add? Or perhaps any of Blockage problems you’d like to discuss?