This post contains explicit language. Do not operate heavy machinery whilst skim-reading.
Writer’s Block: the beautiful struggle to materialise ideas whilst dealing with everything you could possibly hate to be dealing with.
Add that to the fact you’re most probably writing towards the end of your busy-as-hell day, with little to no energy.
Irony falls, as you’ve just backed your 6th cup of stale coffee
(or the sixth can of Red Bull if you’ve a distaste for warmth. You cold-blooded infidels).
A couple hours of thumb-twiddling, Facebook-roaming, Twitter-ranting, and
finding-something-healthy-to-eat-by-staring-aimlessly-at-an-empty-fridge-whilst-you-should-really-be-asleep later, you decide to call an end to an unproductive night.
Me: Lord, it’s so frustrating!
Them: (Don’t blaspheme!)
Me: I’m not even religious?
Them: (It may offend others that read this)
Me: How?! It’s not exactly offensive.
Them: (But it’s politically incorrect)
Me: Wait, wha.. oh, just fuck off already.
Alas, we have Problem #1 – External Opinions
As writers, we put our hearts and souls on paper,
knowing how easily that paper can get discarded.
It’s a scary thought to know the emotion and experiences you’ve gone through can (and often will) be judged so fickly.
It’s a unique feeling, that specific kind of vulnerability.
“Too self-conscious. They tell you to write for an audience, but sometimes you need to get back to writing for yourself – without judgement.” – Bee, Mysterious (and Awesome) Tweeter.
Problema Número Dos – Yourself
Sometimes, we couldn’t care less about what the outside world thinks.
After all, this may be something you’re writing for yourself, and only yourself.
It’s a form of stress-release, and can unlock hidden emotions.
This – in some cases – can be more petrifying than publishing!
“I don’t want to feel in a dark place so I avoid the dark writing I have to do.” – Sacha Wise, Spoken Word Poet. She also shared another gem, “not wanting to start something I can’t finish… I don’t start it until I am in the head space to be able to finish it.”
Incredibly insightful, Stephe Meloy added: “When I was younger, I tried to control it [creativity] rather than harness it and that invariably blocked the very flow I was trying to maintain.” Ah, Zen.
Bad moods, lack of inspiration, restrictions and lack of coffee (I see you, Hiral) are common reasons for why Writer’s Block may settle. Note: procrastination isn’t usually a cause of writer’s block. Procrastination is usually a cause of procrastination.
Problem Tree – Frustration (think about it visually, the tree)
Everything whittles down to this one, bastard, thing.
Through frustration we force ourselves to get something done.
It’s vicious, because the needlessly added pressure,
makes writing that much harder.
Never allow yourself to get sucked into that.
I’ve gathered a few pointers to help keep Writer’s Block at Bay. Now there’s a great self-help book, if you’ve ever heard one:
- Step Away: if you’re struggling, don’t touch it until you feel you’re ready to. Do anything and everything to take your mind off of it: go for a walk, make food, watch mindless television or films, call someone that makes you laugh.
- Lose The Time Limit: don’t look to ‘get back to it soon’. Just leave it in its entirety. This doesn’t mean you’re giving up! You’re just continuing when you’re in a better frame of mind.
- Drink Tea (or Coffee): seriously. If you don’t like it, drink it until you get accustomed. Very therapeutic, very earthly, very Zen.
- Create A Framework, and Don’t Seek Perfection: when getting caught up in writing, we often stray from the point (which leads to frustration, which leads to not being able to finish it). Write the aim/point of your piece at the top of each page.
- Clean Your Workspace: cluttered environment, cluttered mind (see above image).
- “Never be a third party evaluating whether your work is good or bad.” – Joel Hirschhorn.
- Appreciate Your Talent: you have the ability to write, creatively and expressively. Don’t let anything or anyone stifle that. There are millions of people that would kill to write like you, so never doubt yourself. Ever.
- Lose Needlessness: is there any reason for the Facebook tab to be open? Tumblr? Twitter? Pinterest? Instagram? Why is your phone even in this scenario? Why are you reading this! Oh, wait. Never mind.
If all else fails, just switch off for a while. If you’re writing to a deadline… have some more coffee.