Growing Pains

An Alien To The Status Quo

The Trouble With Writer’s Block

Picture this: You’re seated in front of a computer, excited to write something. You open the app that you use to write, MS Word, Google Docs, Notes. You crack your knuckles and delicately place your hands in readiness to type out the next Great Novel, or the award winning story. And then…. Nothing.

You stare at the blinking cursor, it starts to taunt you. So to stop it’s judgmental-ness, you type some gibberish. Lorem Ipsum, and delete, hoping that this will get you going. It doesn’t. Thirty minutes later, you’re googling how to bake a cake and the mechanics of air travel, or you’re watching a movie or a TV series. And you feel utterly drained, having not written a word.

The next time you make time to try and create that story again, you are not so motivated to do so. You are not inspired. The cursor still blinks at you and let’s you know how much of a failure you are. Your confidence is crushed and you start to wonder whether this is something that you’re meant to do. Your muse starts to play hide and seek and it hides so much that you fail to find it. That is what Writer’s Block does to you.

Writer’s block is basically failing to complete a piece of writing, or failing to start writing something new. There are two schools of thought regarding Writer’s Block; some say it’s a genuine psychological disorder, while others say it’s “just in your head.” For a long time, I straddled between the two schools of thoughts. Regardless of what you believe, we can all agree that being blocked is painful, particularly when the written word is an essential part of your being. And just like my previous post probably told you, it’s difficult to overcome. Difficult but not impossible.

I am a Knowledge Junkie so, in preparation for this post, I went digging for scientific studies done on Writer’s Block. I found that in the 1970s, clinical psychologists Michael Barrios and Jerome Singer actually carried out a study by following a group of “blocked writers” for several months. They found that there were four things that caused Writer’s Block:

  1. Excessive harsh self-criticism
  2. Fear of comparison to other writers and fear of not measuring up.
  3. Lack of external motivation, like attention and praise
  4. Lack of internal motivation, like the desire to tell one’s story

In a few words; writer’s block is a result of feelings of discontent with the creative act of writing. To these, I can add timingsometimes, it’s really not the right time to write. Your ideas may need to stew a little longer before you can write them down. Great news about this observations is that these feelings are reversible. When a writer sets out to write, they have a sense of purpose in telling their story and excitement; overcoming writer’s block is about getting this excitement back. 

It said that to get over somebody, you need to get under somebody. While I regularly question the wisdom of this quote, I can’t fault the logic behind it. In order to get over writer’s block, you need to write. The story that you want to write could have lost it’s muse, or it’s inspiration, but there’s always a story lurking within you. I once wrote an entire story about not being able to write. You can find it here.

Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.

–Charles Bukowski

Here is a list of 5 things that you can do to help you get out of the funk of Writer’s Block. These are by no means a science since writing is not a science. But they can help. If all else fails, find you a Loretta.

  1. Step away from whatever you’re writing for a bit. Massage your head, crack your knuckles. Rub your eyes.
  2. Change your environment. Go outside, go for a walk in nature, go to the beach; or because of Covid-19 restrictions, change the room you’re in.
  3. Read a book. This is essentially peeping into your competition and it usually helps get you in the space to write your own story.
  4. Create a daily routine. Structures like this can help you get out of the Writer’s Block Zone. A content calendar, a to-do list, a timetable. There are many famous writers that have daily routines that summon their inspiration AKA the fickle muse.
  5. Spend time with someone who makes you feel good. Call them, text with them. Cuddle, hunt, fish do something with this person that makes you happy.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. See you tomorrow.

7 thoughts on “The Trouble With Writer’s Block

  1. Yo this is a real Ted talk and yes I never had to experience writers block when I was creating at my own pace( write whenever you want to) so it’s definitely internal and it stems out to the outside.

    Find a Loretta you are the Loretta😂😂😂

    Thanks for sharing…. Reading some more does it for me and sometimes it’s just not the right time…

    1. Yeah… Stepping away from your work in progress to do something else does help. Thank you for reading my love ❤️

  2. Ted Talk indeed. I will be optimistic to see you speak on Ted Talk.

    Great writer’s once wear this shoe. To be faced with a problem is not what count, ability to rise is what matters.

    1. Ha! Public speaking and I are not the best of friends but I promise to try and see if I can actually do a Ted Talk 😊

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