Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill
I’m not keen on the notion of “writer’s block.”
It sounds like a curse inflicted on the writer by some mystical and external force. It sounds like something that has control over your writing
I have been stuck. I have been depressed. I have been out of ideas. But I’ve never been blocked by something I couldn’t move myself.
I keep moving. I get therapy. I look for ideas. I read more books. I people watch in parks and coffee shops. With a little bit of effort, I am writing again.
Blocks are usually caused by one of these 3 things:
Whatever the reason, you have the ability to pull yourself out of the funk. You have the agency to change your situation.
Whatever you’re reason for being blocked, these 3 things can get you moving again.
- Observe the block. Sit down for 30 minutes and without editing or passing judgment, do a free writing exercise on what makes you feel blocked. Is it perfectionism? Are you bouncing back from a recent rejection? Do you feel blah about your ideas? See what’s behind the block, so you know what you’re working with.
- Write to fail. Write a piece of garbage. Go on a tangent. Rant. Use some writing prompts just for the hell of it. Describe the room you’re sitting in using the 5 senses. Write anything with the intention of throwing it away. Expectation has a way of building up and preventing you from finishing something, so don’t have any expectation.
- Fill the tank. Too much output and not enough input makes you run out of gas. Read books. Read children’s books. Read the obituaries. Read the police blotter (the fun of small town living). Go for a walk. Go window shopping. Actually smell the flowers.
The fear, boredom, burnout, or whatever else might be blocking you can be overcome. It doesn’t determine what kind of writer you are.
How you push onward determines what kind of writer you are.
Photo by Oliur Rahman on Unsplash