I have writer’s block.
What should I write? How should I start the next sentence? What needs to happen next?
Okay, I don’t really have writer’s block. And thank goodness! Don’t you hate it when you get writer’s block? When you’re sitting at the computer and staring at the screen, but you’re mind seems blank. You put your fingers on the keyboard, but nothing happens. So you wrack your brain trying to think what to type next. You start a sentence, erase it, start again, and erase it again.
I know some writers claim it’s not real, and some writers say they never get writer’s block. They say it’s a state of mind that you just need to push through. They say “when you have writer’s block just sit down and write even if it’s garbage.” And maybe it’s just me, but that is easier said than done. Sometimes I feel like I can’t push through.
I’ve been thinking a lot about writer’s block because I’m in the process of pulling myself out of a slump. Until recently I’d been feeling like I had a bad case of writer’s block that I couldn’t push through. Instead of trying to write through it, I found it much more helpful to take a step back and try to understand the why behind my writer’s block. Once I knew what was causing it, it was so much easier to cure.
Writer’s Block: Causes and Cures
What is Writer’s Block?
Writer’s Block is different for every writer. Some feel it as an absence of the muse. Many feel it as if their brain has gone foggy and they are unsure of how to proceed. That’s often how I would describe the writer’s block I feel. Like my brain has turned mushy and can’t remember how to write.
Other writers don’t even believe in writer’s block. However, for the purpose of this post, we are going to consider writer’s block as any mental or physical disruption to your normal flow of writing. If writing becomes increasingly difficult or you no longer feel motivated to write, the tips in this writer’s block series can help you.
Sometimes it feels like I catch writer’s block like I catch the common cold. I’m healthy and functional one day, and the next day I’m going through a pack of Kleenex an hour. I’m writing fine one day, and the next day I can’t think of a single word to put on the page.
While it feels like catching a cold is something out of my control that just happens on a whim, I know it’s caused when my immune system is compromised. And there are certain precautions I can take to prevent myself from being infected.
Writer’s block is no different. By taking a step back to learn why I’ve been having writer’s block, I’ve found a few ways I can safeguard myself against “catching” a bad case of writer’s block.
The Causes and Cures of Writer’s Block
Every week this month I’m going to post about writer’s block.
This week is simply an introduction to the series, so I won’t be getting too specific about the methods I use to cure writer’s block. But, I will say that writer’s block seems to be a combination of not being prepared, not being motivated, or being afraid.
If I’m not physically or mentally prepared to write, it’s nearly impossible. I also struggle to write if I do not feel motivated. But the biggest thing that keeps me from writing are my fears. I do not believe that writer’s block is caused by an absence of the muse. If I believe in the muse at all, I do not believe it is something that has it’s own mind and is in control of when it appears. Which is a good thing! Because it means the absence of the muse and any case of writer’s block is entirely in your control. It means that you can fix any problem and overcome any obstacle. Writer’s block doesn’t have to get the best of you.
Even recognizing these causes of writer’s block has helped me make progress in finding a cure. The best tip to curing writer’s block has been understanding how to prevent myself from feeling unprepared, unmotivated, or afraid.
Join me each Friday for awesome tips about understanding the causes of writer’s block and learning tips to cure it.
Part 1: Writer’s Block: Causes and Cures
Part 2: Writer’s Block: Be Prepared
Part 3: Writer’s Take a Break
Part 4: Writer’s Block: Face Your Fears