The barrier that holds all great writers down, or does it help writers create something majestic? The Writer’s Block is something we all fear when we write, especially on a topic that’s just plain uninteresting or if we have a lack of knowledge on that topic. Before I get into how to overcome it, let’s talk about what a Writer’s Block is.
So, what is a Writer’s Block?
The literal definition of Writer’s Block is the inability to effectively think of what to write or how to proceed with writing. There are a few reasons why you may come across a Writer’s Block:
- Lack of Knowledge/Interest: Sometimes just not knowing what to write about because you have no idea what the topic is or if you lack interest can create a Writer’s Block.
- Fear: Your fear of critique and feedback may cause you to be afraid of writing. Being criticized about something you work on is never fun, especially if you worked on something for so long. But feedback is always helpful to make you become better at writing.
- Timing: It may just not be the right time for you to write. Perhaps a life event is occurring and you just can’t string your ideas together.
- Perfectionism: The idea that your paper needs to be perfect, so you decide to think everything out before actually writing.
- Your Passion Just Isn’t There: Sometimes passion comes and goes, and that’s perfectly normal. And sometimes it takes time to find that passion again.
- Stress: Similar to fear and timing, perhaps you’re stressed about something which inadvertently causes you to be unable to string your ideas together.
- Mental Illness: Things like ADHD, OCD, or Depression may be factors of Writer’s Block. If you feel that a mental illness may be causing your Writer’s Block, my biggest suggestion is to speak with someone that can help you overcome it.
Overcoming Writer’s Block
There isn’t really a definitive answer to conquer the Writer’s Block. It’s a beast that needs to be slayed, but can be slayed differently. However, strategies do exist and may help you come closer to help you begin your writing process.
- Freewrite: It doesn’t matter what you write, just write. Whatever comes to mind, just jot it down. Take 5 mins, 10 mins, 15 mins, to just freewrite about anything. Sometimes freewriting can set a light bulb off, helping you find that urge to begin writing.
- Brainstorm: Similar to freewrite, whatever ideas you have, just jot them down. Make a list, create lines and connect things together. And again, it doesn’t matter what you come up with, no idea is a bad idea (in most cases).
- Remove Distractions: For people, sometimes just setting yourself in a room alone by yourself can help you. No social media, phones, games, tvs, etc.
- Take a Break: Take a break and go for a walk outside. Watch your favorite television show or movie. Talk with your friends. Something, somewhere, will spark an interest and motivation for you to begin to write. Most importantly, try to not think about the writing too much
- Read/Research: Find a book you’ve read or never read before. Begin reading it. Or research on a topic that’s interested you for a long time, but never had the chance to find more information about it.
- Look at past work: Maybe you’ve written something before that you’re proud or not proud of. Look to see how you can improve that piece or what went well, or even how you came up with the ideas.
- Write When You Wake Up: Similar to freewriting, the first thing you do when you first wake up, instead of brushing your teeth and eating breakfast, is to just write. Write about any dreams you had (or nightmares), describe them. Write about the goals you want to accomplish for the day.
- Ask for Help: It seems simple enough, but sometimes asking someone for help because you’re having Writer’s Block seems fearful. But don’t let that slow you down. Ask for help if you really need it.
- Write the Middle: The middle, as in the middle of your piece (story, research paper, etc.). Instead of starting at the beginning (which many writers, both experienced and inexperienced have trouble with), start with the juice of the story or essay. Write about the rising action, focus on the plot, your reasons and evidence that cover what you want to write about or thinking of what to write about.
- Write: No matter what you do, don’t stop writing. If you give up on your writing, you decided to not slay the beast, or at least try to. Just write, write, write!
Most importantly, believe in yourself. No matter what happens, believe that you can do it, that you can write the best thing you’ve ever written. It may not be great in your 1st draft, and that’s okay, but with more revisions and more thinking, you can produce something great. Writing is never finished, even when you think you’re finished. You’re always constantly at the beginning each time you write, because something can always change. And again, each writer is different and may take something beyond what’s stated here or on the internet to overcome a Writer’s Block, but just be patient.
So, what are some ways that you overcome your Writer’s Block?