It seems to have a mind of its own. It comes and goes on its own terms and doesn’t give a damn whether it was invited or not …writer’s block.
Whether you are a college student trying to wrap up your thesis, a seasoned novelist, or a witty blogger with a great following, writer’s block has haunted us all. It’s paralyzing, my pen won’t move, my mind won’t think, then the anxiety sinks in. What if I never write again? Insecurities follow, what if my pride and joy piece was a one hit wonder? What if I just had a taste of beginner’s luck? The what ifs and what could be take over and that is when it hits you, you have gotten a case of writers’s block.
Writer’s block isn’t biased and will select its victims randomly like a bad karma tax audit. Here’s the good news, it happens to the best of us and it doesn’t last forever. There are reasons for writer’s block, and no it’s not because your creativity and journalism skills are tapped out.
1) You just have too much going on in your mind.
2) You haven’t worked the engine in awhile or you aren’t writing enough on a regular basis.
3) The universe is telling you to step outside your comfort zone. Let something inspire you to write.
4) You are putting too much pressure on yourself to preform.
It’s like being put on the spot. If I tell people I’ve had some crazy adventures in my life, they reply with well what’s your craziest story? Bam my mind freezes. Sure I have almost been kidnapped, I’ve hung off chandeliers at private parties, and jumped off bridges in the country, but my mind freezes.
If I tell someone I wrote a self help book and they ask me a question I get caught up on stage fright and can’t seem to remember a single word that was written. Writer’s block can get the best of us all.
I’m a bit old fashioned in the sense that when I get writer’s block I literally can’t write a thing that pertains to my topic since I hand write all articles before typing. Handwriting is just how the words choose to flow out. I can tell when I had writer’s block because the words on the paper are so visibly clear and neat. They of course accompany a side of doodles and my name and birth date written over and over. Emily Turner 1-23-1981.
I can easily tell when editing when the creative juices were flowing and the good content was pouring out onto the paper because the words are barely eligible. I can’t write as fast as the thoughts pop into my head. That’s when I know I broke through writers’ block. I think back when I got my first taste of writer’s block shortly after high school. In high school I excelled at communications and journalism.
After high school I went on to become a flight attendant and was so consumed with the outside world beyond my small town I took a break from writing. Back in 99 we didn’t have the luxury of smart phones, laptops, and tablets. I sometimes wonder what moments and thoughts I would have captured with those wonderful things we now can not live without. After a few lofty years of being a flight attendant I decided to get grounded and go back to school. After studying in film school the creative inspiration swept over me like an epiphany in the night. I began carrying a notebook and pen around regularly for all the random thoughts and inspirations that came my way.
When you take a break from writing and you decide it’s time to dive back in into the pool of words, the first few pages can be brutal. Some days when I’d edit I’d be like who wrote this a first grader? But I didn’t stop writing and neither should you. Here are some of my own tips for writers’s block. They may not work for everyone, but they work for me.
1) Create your own writer’s mantra. Create it, say it, believe it and most importantly believe in yourself. Mine is, “You are a writer. Never forget it.” Yes I may work in an office, or I may be a bartender to save up for school, but writing is me, it is a part of who I am. Never let the flame die, because it only takes one spark to ignite a fire.
2) Create a writing ritual. Once your in it, your whole being knows it is writing time. Maybe it’s writing on a bench in the park at sundown, or going to a particular coffee shop. I normally designate a writing space. I have my pens, notebooks, chapstick and tea or wine all lined up. No computers, cell phones, or clocks. Then a few snacks and I’m ready to get lost in my words.
3) Write on! Write through your writer’s block. Even if it is three words an hour. Do not get up. Don’t push too hard, Rome wasn’t built overnight, but keep writing through it. Picture yourself as a tiny snow blower plowing your way through an avalanche. There will be a break through and believe me when it happens you won’t look back and regret sitting in a chair writing six words in two hours. You will pride yourself on not giving up. You can always edit and cut out the irrelevant struggling words that accompanied the writer’s block.
Writer’s block go away!
It is determination, motivation, and perseverance.