In honour of the new year, Adam and I sit down to have a casual heart to heart about the very serious topic of writer’s block. What it is, how it affects writers, how to work through it, and tips on how you can prevent it. So, sit back and grab a cup of cocoa and join us by the fireplace for some real talk:
And as usual, here’s a summary of what we discussed in the video:
Writer’s block can be anything as simple as when you sit down in front of a blank page and nothing comes to you, or you can get the words to flow to as serious as losing the motivation to write, or feeling creatively blocked for an extended period.
It could be that you’re just having an off day, or it could be a feeling of inadequacy. If you’re in the middle of a story and having trouble continuing it could be that you’ve lost motivation for that particular project, or maybe you’ve written yourself into a corner and can’t see where to go from there. Imposter’s syndrome can cause writer’s block, and so can more serious issue like depression.
The key to dealing with writer’s block is to discover what’s causing it and to solve the problem at its root. If it’s a story issue, take a few steps back and see where you went wrong. If it’s an emotional issue, see if you can figure out what’s bothering you in your life that might be subconsciously affecting your creativity. In the meantime, you can either take a break from writing, or try and work through it, doing writing exercises, or just writing despite it. You may feel that your writing at this time is crappy, but it might just be your negative mindset playing tricks on you.
There was a time in University where I struggled and I couldn’t write anything creative. It lasted for about two and a half years. I took a course about the Creative Process and I learned a lot about how we create and about writer’s block in particular. We did an excercise where we had to write three pages when we first woke up every day whether we had something to say or not. Eventually you run out of inane things to say about the weather and you start digging into what’s real. This made me realize what I was struggling with in my life that made me unable to create and it gave me the ability to face it and work through it.
There are no solutions or preventions that aree 100% effective. Sometimes things happen in your life and you have to let yourself work through them and sometimes those things affect your creativity. That’s ok. Give yourself a break, be kind to yourself when you need to. However, you can train yourself to compartmentalize your writing, to treat it as a job where you leave your problems at the door. Writing often or as a routine helps. Writing even when you don’t feel like it, helps. So does knowing you can always edit or re-write later. Sometimes you will feel your writing is garbage. You may be right, or you might find that your perspective is what shifts, not your ability.
Thank you for reading!