Writer’s Block is a big topic and one that I’ve touched on before and will likely come back to again. The problem with writer’s block is that there isn’t just one cause for it and for that reason, there can be no one-size-fits-all blanket solutions. So the first step to overcoming writer’s block if you are afflicted by it is to determine what kind of writer’s block you have and what’s causing it. If you can determine the root of the problem, then you can start to unravel it and get back to doing what you love: writing.
Types of Writer’s Block
Are you blocked from working on a specific scene or project, or is it that your creativity is stifled entirely? If a specific scene, it could be that you have written yourself into a corner or made some sort of mistake somewhere in the plot that needs correcting before you continue. If it’s the project, perhaps you have simply lost motivation with that particular story/set of characters. If it’s something greater, look to your life; are there things in your life causing you stress? Is your mind preoccupied dealing with a tangle of emotions or a difficult situation and your creative energy is perhaps tied up there? If that’s the case, it might be time to take a break from writing until the situation is resolved or you can make some changes.
When you’re ready to get back to writing
Let’s say you’ve found the cause of your writer’s block and you’ve done your best to sort it out, but the words just aren’t flowing for you. There are ways to help get back in the groove after a bout of writer’s block.
First, be kind to yourself.
I cannot stress this enough. We all have that voice in the back of our head that criticizes us. It tells us we’re not good enough, or it reminds us of deadlines that we’re not hitting. Silence that voice, or at the very least correct it every time it challenges you, especially in regards to your writing. Teach that inner voice to be kinder to you, or to shut up and let you focus. When recovering from writer’s block, you are still vulnerable, so if you’re going to heal you need to practice self care.
Second, change your mindset.
Instead of treating writing like a chore, or getting frustrated with yourself when you can’t write or keep up to your usual word count, try rediscovering your love of writing by treating it like a reward. Instead of, “I have to write five pages tonight,” it’s “I get to write five pages tonight.” Or instead of “I’m going to write from 6pm to 8pm,” try, “I get to write from 6pm to 8pm tonight.” This way, you re-wire your brain to be excited about writing and it will cease to feel like a chore and start to feel like a privilege. One that you won’t want to squander.
Third, just write.
Getting back into a project after some time away from it is one of the hardest parts of writing. You are going to feel more sluggish than usual. It will feel harder to eek out every word, every sentence, and every scene and you will feel, at times, that your writing is garbage, or at least not as good as you feel you used to be. This feeling will pass. And, so what, maybe your writing skills are a little rusty, or maybe it has been a while and you’ve forgotten certain details about your plot, characters, setting, ect. That’s OK! You’ll pick up speed, you’ll get better, and you can always go back and strengthen the weak points and make corrections in the editing phase. At least you are making progress and writing again! That’s what’s important.
Thanks for reading.