Writer’s block is a condition, in which a writer feels unable to write well, or produce new work. It is not always about time passed, but how engaged/able you are to a single task. Caused by the creative writer/author’s own prose, or by external circumstances writer’s block can feel impossible to break. I did some research on the condition, because my brain feels hazy itself. Here is what I found- a piece for me to defy my own little ‘block’.
The Who and The Why
Who? You guessed it! Writer’s block affects someone who writes. However, it has been seen to affect all creatives; Musicians, artists, entrepreneurs and modern-influencers. It might surprise you to know that even the most established authors feel periods of nothingness; English successors J.K Rowling, mother of Harry Potter and Virginia Wolf, Poet, Journalist and Novelist, for example.
Why? There are many studies into ‘why’ writer’s block occurs. Some say it that it is ‘all in the head’, but the studies explaining causes still stand. The most obvious is that a writer loses inspiration, or puts pressure on themselves to achieve, to the point they can’t produce anything at all. Perhaps a heavy workload could answer for it or:
- Burnout: Being consumed by performing all-day everyday can lead to exhaustion, fluctuating emotions and lack of motivation to start anything new.
- Perfectionism: Setting the bar at the highest level and striving is a good thing, but can be counterproductive. By needing to be perfect and brilliant, the smallest ‘slip’ can trap your initial purpose; passion.
- Depression, or other types of mental illness: The brain is clever, but can alter how you think and process words. Sometimes confused with Agraphia*, it is important to know the difference, as writer’s block isn’t a permanant diagnosis.
- Fear: The fear of rejection, judgement, opposed thinkers is very real for anyone in the public-domain. Whilst fear can be the adreneline to your next best read, it can also be an end game.
Overriding Writer’s Block
Routine: By writing out your plan for the day, you can visualise your goals more clearly. It allows me to feel a sense achievement when ticking each (small) task off. Recognisation for what you’re working on, regardless of how ‘small’ it seems is vital.
Freewriting: Mindmapping, or jotting your thoughts down can be a good way to release what you’re struggling to see, in full. You can adapt this too; I often free write poetry/dialogues to help with my mental health. Try it. What is the worst that can happen? You don’t like the style, you ‘click’ onto what’s holding you back and that’s hard? Try my next tip…
Take a break/Find a new focus: Sometimes, taking time away from your creative specialism is as important as struggling for exclusive ideas. Journalist? Try poetry. Don’t say no to words, just use them differently. You might be tired of writing or creating, so open a new book – pardon the pun. Bake, read something effortless, just taking effort to breathe can relieve a foggy mind.
Exercise: Exercise is vital to leading a healthy lifestyle, regardless of who you are and what you’re experiencing. Get your blood pumping and feel-good hormones moving; On days that I’m particularly unmotivated I force myself outside and run it out. Cry, sing, exhale as loud as you need to and I promise you’ll feel something. I’d hope you’d feel empowered and ready to pick a pen up.
Don’t do THIS– Procrastinate your tasks; Allowing yourself to ‘forget’ will not fix the problem. From experience, this pitfall is endless. I’ll transcribe that interview later, turns out to dropping the piece altogether. You NEED to keep yourself accountable for your own future.
“I don’t sit around waiting for passion to strike me. I keep working steadily, because I believe it is our privilege as humans to keep making things. Most of all, I keep working because I trust that creativity is always trying to find me, even when I have lost sight of it.”Elizabeth Gilbert
Easier said, than done
And you’d be right to tell me that. This blog is my first piece, after feeling beaten by words and much more. Behind the advise I just put forward to you, I’m actively testing each; I questioned whether to sumbit this blog. I questioned whether I sound hypocrital, but by reading over my words, something happened. I made it this happen and I met my goal.
Wherever you are right now, stop. What did you set out to do today? What did you actually do today? Something just happenened. You stopped and you thought about your goal; Put it to paper. Take action, now.