Overcoming Writer's Block

LifehacksWriting Tips
Sep 14, 2019

More often than not, experts find that writer’s block is caused by conflicted feelings. As a writer, you would want your writing to be pristine, and the amount of time spent on it should be as short as possible. We know certain things, fully equipped with the knowledge at hand, but we do not know how the article should look like. We know what we want to say, but we are afraid of being unable to measure up to both our expectations and that of our audience’s. All the feelings that come with the pressures of writing are normal and natural. Even the best of writers still find writing challenging. Some writers, however, compound their problems by exercising weak writing strategies. When their methods fail, giving up soon follows.

One more common culprit writers agree on is the persistent feeling of not being ready to write. Sometimes, it manifests as feelings of not being good enough to write. Another term for writer’s block we can postulate is the concept of perfectionism and procrastination. Such displacement activities include social media and checking emails, cleaning the room, mowing the grass, and watching it grow – anything but involvement in writing. The concept of writer’s block, including in the forms of all its manifestations, is a recognized problem. Ketih Hiortshoi, author of a book entitled Understanding Writing Block, argues that this is a common phenomenon, oftentimes haunting professional writers more. 

Possible causes of your pesky writer

Possible causes of your writer’s block

The reasons for that pesky writer’s block varies, but some common ones include the following:

  • Timing.  Perhaps it is simply not the right time for you to write. Your ideas may need to grow a little more before you could write them down and bring them to life. 
  • Fear.  Truthfully, many writers struggle with fear. In more ways than one, this is justifiable, as you are not only putting your ideas out there for the world to see – you are also allowing yourself to become vulnerable to critique. It can be really powerful to the point that it becomes a major reason why some writers never become writers.
  • Perfectionism.  As a writer, you would want everything to be in order before touching pen and paper or your keyboard. You try to rearrange and perfect everything in your head – but the problem is, you never do, so you never begin. 

Overcoming Your Case of Writer's Block

If you find yourself struggling with writer’s block, do not get discouraged. This happens to almost every writer and there are plenty of ways to overcome it. Perhaps in the middle of writing your paper, you get stuck. You lose your muse and lose interest in writing. Staring at the computer screen ensues, but no words flow. You feel stuck, trapped, and sapped – slowly losing grip of that sliver of confidence. There are ways of avoiding these and overcoming writer’s block. Here are some powerful ways of rediscovering that flow:

  • Consider writing with others.

This does not necessarily mean you let them write your work for you. As with other activities, interacting with others about certain plans and ideas can become valuable. As a writer, the meat of your work comes from the observable world, and the key to understanding that world deeper is through others. Get fresh perspectives and ideas. 

Writing with others also makes writing merely a part of work and life. It is no longer something we just do in solitude, and what many realize is that discussing writing and ideas can be interesting. Doing this with others reduces that fear and anxiety, lowering the effects of writer’s block, or eliminating them all together. 

  • Step away from whatever you’re currently writing and something creative.

Consider poetry , painting, scrapbooking, Photoshop, or building something in your garage. Work on that passion project for a few hours or days, and then dive back into writing. Writers report that engaging In other projects, especially those that stimulates creativity, truly helps. They key is to exercise the creative part of your brain; eventually, the steady stream of writing will come back.

  • Do sessions of freewriting.

Writers swear by this method: spend at least 15 minutes or more each day to write whatever comes into mind. Ignore grammar rules and punctuation marks, just write freely. Allow yourself to be random, perhaps changing the subject as many times as you wish. You could mix in fiction with journaling, or use it simply to air out frustrations. This process of freewriting exercises your brain into tapping words inside your head, steering them towards your computer screen or paper. Do this every day for a week, and then return to your writing project. One alternative to freewriting is simply just getting your thoughts out, perhaps for 20 minutes or so, and then immediately returning to your projects. You will never know – some of these freewriting entries could lead to brand new ideas.

  • Move, move, move.

It could be dancing, practicing yoga or the traditional Tai Chi. This may sound uncanny, but when your body flows, your mind follows. Consider meditating, too, where you practice long, deep breaths. Remember that a relaxed mind is more open, and an open mind is more imaginative. Your focus is longer when in a peaceful state. After practicing your choice of movement, go back to your writing project. You will find that you shall be in a more creative state. 

  • Eliminate distractions; consider your writing environment.

Unplug from the internet and turn off your phone – you can check those notifications later. Perhaps your work space needs some cleaning up; after all, a cluttered desk can lead your mind into a state of confusion. Schedule time for writing, blocking out at least 3 to 4 hours only, where you can be focused solely on the project. You can even ask your loved ones to respect your space, which can help further your progress. Give yourself some time and space, as writing is an art and skill borne out of the mind. Utmost focus is tantamount.

  • Write early in the morning.

When you wake up, chances are your brain is still functioning in Theta. This is the brainwave pattern that your mind is in as you dream. Some authors find that their best writing happens between 4:00 AM and 5:00 AM, but that can work with your own wake up time. There is some unexplainable magic that happens when you write still half asleep. Your mind is a powerful thing, and it is best to use it to your advantage.

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