We’ve all experienced it at one point or another-- whether that was finishing your Creative Writing midterm paper back in college, or writing your next article for your blog or company’s website…writer’s block finds us all at some point. It’s just part of the job!
Before we jump into some of the common reasons for writer’s block and how to overcome them, I want to quickly share a few ways to not overcome writer’s block, commonly mistaken for solutions. You do not overcome writer’s block by avoiding writing until you feel “inspired” or by watching TV (or really any form of procrastination). You won’t beat the block by wallowing in self-pity, either. At the end of the day, there is always one fail-proof way to overcome writer’s block, and it is one that you already know. It’s just the answer that you’ve been avoiding, the one you don’t want to hear: The key to beating writer’s block is by writing.
But because not everyone experiences the same reasons for their block, let’s explore some of the most common reasons it happens and ways to overcome it. 💪
You know what they say… timing is everything! If your creative juices just aren’t flowing, it simply just may not be the right time to write. Your ideas probably need to cook a bit longer before you’re able to write them down. Some common remedies for this would be to change the time of day that you’re actually sitting down to write. Go for a walk, do something to get the blood flowing, change your environment, and spend time with other people. It’s incredibly important to understand that everyone has a creative process and even if you haven’t fully dissected yours yet, it’s there! You aren’t writing at the whim of a muse, so take some time to deconstruct and demystify your process. When a good idea comes to you, take a second to observe your surroundings. Where are you? Who are you with? What are you doing? Is this moment similar to others when you’ve gotten some great ideas? If so, maybe some aspects can be reproducible. Flesh your ideas out a bit more, sleep on it, and then give it another go!
We all experience a bit of anxiety in our writing from time to time. Many writers struggle with being hesitant or afraid to publish their words and ideas, putting them out in the world for everyone to see (or worse -- judge). In fact, fear is a main reason why some writers never really become writers! 😱 The fear of mediocrity leads to inaction. That same fear of ruining the potential of your post, if you write even one imperfect word, leads to writing no words at all. There is a comfort in imagining that potential, so we tend to stay there. However, the only way to improve your writing is to see it on paper and revise from there. Try to dedicate as much attention as you can to your writing, and do your best to ignore the voice in your head about whether you’re good enough. You won’t know if it’s good until it’s on the page, so get those fingers typing!
I get it-- you want every detail to be just right before you start writing (or typing). The reality is, even if you get your idea to that perfect place in your head, ideas are always flowing and thoughts are ever-changing, so then you end up never actually beginning. My best advice for this common problem? Play! Go out and find ways to lower that metaphorical bar you’ve created in your head and just have fun with your writing. There is no such thing as perfect writing because, at the end of the day, writing is simply a collaboration with a complete stranger: the reader. You’ll find that this kind of writer’s block often creeps in when we find ourselves succumbing to self-doubt or getting hung up on some fatalistic view, but the solution is to just find your way out. Get yourself to that keyboard, and try to get some words down, even if it’s just an outline or a list of ideas. I am a firm believer that terrible rough draft leads to a beautiful finished piece, so get your words and ideas out on paper and clean it up later. ✍
What about you? Have you fallen victim to any of these three blockers? Let us know below!