Dealing With Writer’s Block
A writer wants to create the best possible work, storyline, or poem with his writing. He wants the readers to feel something unique after reading the words that he’s laboriously put onto the paper. But….we’ve all been there. He has a great idea. He’s moving quickly through a story….and then he hits a wall. The ideas stop flowing. The words stop coming. The brilliant ideas come to a stuttering halt. And it always comes at the worst time. After a streak of a month of daily writing, pumping out tens of thousands of words. And then after it hits, weeks with no words written, stuck on the same blank page. The longer the break, the harder it becomes and the more the pressure builds. The expectations of perfection grow. “If I took so long to write this part, it must be amazing!” Even psychologically, it gets more difficult as many writers get distracted from writing and then face depression, loneliness, and personal problems. This abrupt pause in the writers’ creativity is termed as writer’s block. It is one of the most helpless conditions and arises due to the constant need for appreciation. In its worst days, writers have described it almost like a disease.
Temporary solutions to deal with writer’s block
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet when it comes to writer’s block. Some writers claim certain things work. Others claim other solutions work. Everybody is built differently and different things get the creative juices flowing for different people. Just like everybody has their own solution to the hiccups, everybody has to find their own way out of writer’s block.
Whatever the strategy, however, these strategies take time and may not work every time. One commonly used technique is the trial and error technique, where the writer forces a continuation into the story. If it doesn’t work, the writer tries another line of thought. The author forces him or herself to come up with ideas until something satisfactory finally hits the paper. The important thing to remember with this method is that there are no wrong answers. Don’t strive for perfection here. Strive for getting ideas out.
Some writers try to get out of the house and do other things. Many writers will go watch a movie or read a book or mow the lawn or even take a shower. Anything to get of the rut and bring new creative insights. Personally, I recommend the indie films on Vimeo or some good ole’ Hemingway shorts. They’re beautifully done and provide more rich creative ideas than a typical box office hit would. Other writers consider this procrastination. There is certainly no proof that doing something outside of writing actually will lead to newfound creativity or productivity. It may relieve some of the frustrations of the writer’s block, but some argue that it doesn’t actually help and is more of an excuse than anything else.
Permanent solutions to deal with writer’s block
There have been some more long-term tested ways that some writers say help. These tend to be easier to repeat and use when writer’s block comes back in the future.
One effective method is to do a braindump. Write down every though that comes into your mind. The aim is to just remember ideas and drop ideas on paper. It’s not to come up with anything fancy or to write a total masterpiece. This is also known as free writing. It’s used as a writing exercise to warm up the brain and prepare it for bursts of creativity. This is widely used in writing workshops and schools from around the world. The most difficult part about this process is to get rid of the filtering on ideas that we like to do within our minds. Whenever we have an idea, our brain comes up with hundreds of reasons why it’s bad. This is especially true when facing writer’s block. This exercise is meant to combat that. If you’re having trouble getting the first idea out, you can try using a writing prompt to get an initial seed of an idea planted.
Fanfiction is another great way to combat writer’s block. You’re able to use existing characters, conflicts, and scenarios as a way to spur the creative juices. Recently, I’ve been really into Detroit Became Human (which you can read here), which is an easy way to get out of a creative rut. For my next attempts, I’ll probably role with something like Casbah, Pixelface, or Sombra, which are all really perfect for fanfiction given how rich the characters are. That’s really all you need. Rich characters, good plots, and those creative juices will start flowing in no time.
Writer’s block is a consequence of overthinking. Some people don’t even believe in the term “writer’s block”, suggesting that writer’s block may just be a state of low motivation or energy, comparing it to the reason why many people want to go to the gym but never end up going or the kids who take hours staring at a blank page, saying they’re doing homework but really just not being in the mood. Regardless of if you believe in the term or not, the good news is that the solutions tend not to be incredibly taxing and can even be fun. The next time you feel writer’s block, give it a try!