Understanding Writer’s Block
When dealing with writer’s block, remember that progress is more important than completion. Writer’s block doesn’t only apply to writing books; you can practically experience it writing anything from short stories, essays, even job applications.
Definition from Merriam-Webster.com:
– A psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece.
Definition from Dictionary.com:
– A usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work.
It’s possible to lack inspiration and motivation or sometimes just one of the two. For example, you may have an idea but not enough willingness to proceed. Or, you’re in the mood to write but can’t come up with what to write about.
My Experience With Writer’s Block
For me personally, I find that starting is the most difficult step. Things are easier said than done. In my mind I tell myself to sit at my desk and work on a task. The challenge is in disciplining myself to physically open up the document and stare at the screen until I eventually start writing. What ends up happening is I keep this thought at the back of my head while I browse online, do online shopping etc.
A couple months ago I thought of an idea for a book to write. I’ve written pieces here and there but nothing is really organized. During the day, I’ll come up with random ideas but I’ve never fully sat down and had a session to focus on this project. My thoughts consisted of, “There’s no deadline, so I can take the time to write this book.” However, I got carried away with not feeling any pressure and as a result I barely worked on my story when it could’ve had a better structure by now.
In university, I would often have writer’s block because of assignments I didn’t want to do but had to do. I would get them done because of due dates. So why can’t I work on this book? Is it not something I want to do? I keep getting ideas for the story so that means I shouldn’t abandon the project, right?
Thinking negatively about what could’ve been done isn’t going to make things better. It’s time to think about making progress moving forward.
The other day, I parted from my writer’s block. I finally sat down with my laptop, opened up the project and wrote down the ideas I had over the past few days so I wouldn’t forget about them. Not being too strict with myself, I wrote out whatever I could think of knowing it’s better to edit later. It’s all a draft but at least the words are there. My main achievement was coming up with more scenes that are helping me build a clearer storyline.
When I couldn’t come up with anything else I stopped writing. My plan for next time is to organize what I’ve written so far. In the past when I’ve written stories, I go from start, middle, to end. That’s why I rarely finished projects properly because I got tired of the idea after a few chapters. What I’d like to try with this book is figuring out the start and end so I can just fill what’s missing in the middle.
I’m glad I was able to jump back into writing my book. I actually feel more motivated now to continue. What my session taught me about overcoming writer’s block is that I need to force myself to just open the document. Even if I sit there for a while, I shouldn’t close it up without adding something. A little is always better than nothing. Sometimes you need to change your method; don’t retry old routines that haven’t worked. Ask for help: Send excerpts to friends for feedback. Stay hopeful! Don’t think that what you’ve written is bad, think that it can be improved and transformed to become useful.
What To Do When You Have Writer’s Block
- Look to others for inspiration – Read the work of others, listen to other people’s stories, etc.
- Search up videos with tips to overcome writer’s block
- Set personal deadlines – The pressure may be helpful for some but not everyone
- Create small goals and after a work session, reflect on what you were able to accomplish
- Go back to pen and paper – Technology is great but letting your hand transfer the creativity from your mind just has a different effect. Print out what you have so far, read the words in front of you, and make notes with a pen. You will also benefit from taking a break from staring at your screen.
- Energy! – Have snacks and a drink at your desk to keep you fueled and refreshed
Writing Quotes That May Encourage You
“Stay faithful to the stories in your head.” – Paula Hawkins
“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” – Anne Lamott
“Write the story that’s in your heart and not the one you think will pay the most money.” – Brenda Jackson
“Write, because you need to, because words are more than what you say, they are what you do. Grow, with each comma, as it forces you to keep going beyond the limits of “I can’t.” Live what you write, because words matter. Once it’s written, it’s real, there are no backsies. Words are life.” – Unknown
“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” – Isaac Asimov
If you found my experience with writer’s block relatable then I hope it brings you some comfort knowing you are not alone. As writers, we each deal with this issue differently. Above, I have listed just a few recommendations that you can try which may help you overcome writer’s block. With the quotes, I hope you keep them in mind as you conquer your personal projects and continue writing what you feel. Thank you for reading and good luck!
Other Blogs To Refer To
Here are two Parting Stories blogs also on the topic of writing:
Graduate from Ryerson University & Lead Content Writer at Parting Stories.