Maybe at sometime you’ve read a newspaper or magazine articles wherein a writer, probably somebody famous, explains that they did not write anything for a year, or perhaps even longer, because of something they will probably call “writers block”.
So, what is this dreaded affliction, writers block?
Well, oh, I don’t know, not really, its just that well, I probably do know what it is, but I just cant, I just can’t get my ideas together enough to explain it. In fact, I haven’t got anything to say at all about writers block, or, indeed, anything to say about anything.
In fact, why am I here at all?
If you write, this has probably happened to you at some time, in fact, probably many, many times.
You know, you’re sitting staring at the screen first thing in the morning, knowing that you must write something, but have no idea what that something should be!
Familiar? NO?! Man, you are the lucky one…..if that is REALLY true ..
But, sorry to disillusion you, I don’t think it is true!
Anyone who writes anything – articles, books, eBooks, periodicals, newsletters, magazine articles – has experienced this phenomenon at some time or another.
Especially when a deadline is fast coming upon you like an out of control express train! That utter, complete and total inability to order your thoughts, to get the cogs turning, to get things moving – that is writers block, my friend.
Writers block inhabits every blank PC screen and piece of paper known to man.
You know that feeling, where you sit down at your desk with a pretty clear idea of what you need to write, and three seconds later, as your rear end hits the chair, you’re staring at the blank screen, and your head is suddenly entirely uninhabited by anything even vaguely related to cogent thought.
You are staring not in some calm, collected and in control manner, but rather, desperately, longingly, vainly trying to summon some form of divine inspiration from the hidden depths of your soul.
Im talking about just staring – blank, uninspired, vacant, devoid of almost everything that marks you out as a writer, staring blankly into the deepest recesses of the most profound nothingness.
Sweat streaming down your back, total unfettered panic setting in at the speed of light, going absolutely nowhere, blankness. And, guess what – the tighter the dreaded deadline is, the worse writers block will be!
So, what is going on here? How can even some of the worlds greatest authors oft times find themselves utterly unable to produce a single meaningful word?
Simple. Its that one word – deadlines!
Maybe because the first part of the word is dead, but deadlines equal fear!
At that particular moment in any writers life, that blank screen is the scariest, most openly malevolent being imaginable.
What if you have absolutely, totally nothing to any value to say?
Eventually, the scariest thing becomes the writers block itself.
So, lets examine the question of why it happens at all, before perhaps looking to see what, if anything, can be done to attack the problem.
After all, if you are a professional writer who does this each and every day of your life, how come one day you get out f bed and you just can’t do it? It clearly makes no sense.
One possible reason for your writers block may be you are a perfectionist, who truly believes that every single word you write has to be absolutely perfect.
Well, sorry, that is never going to happen.
There are just too many words in the English language to get the perfect one each and every time.
Perhaps you just cannot find the right word to get started. The first sentence is always going to be the hardest. Heck, even writing a letter (or an email) home to your Mum can bring this one on!
Or, your mind is on other things. Your neighbor was partying all night, and kept you awake, or you forget to pay the gas bill, or the dog just die. Whatever it is – your mind id not on the job in hand.
No doubt there are many, many other possible reasons. Suffice to say that, actually, it doesn’t really matter why it happens – it just does!
Now, many, many people (usually a writers block afflicted author!) will tell you that, once writers block set in, you cannot get rid of it. It’s just there, squatting on your shoulder, until it decides to go away again.
My take on this is that, whilst they may believe it, it sounds like a pretty lame form of excuse to you. The writers block has a will of its own, does it? It makes the decisions, not you?
Give me a break! I cannot believe that anyone truly believes this for one moment.
However, purely in the interests of enlightened debate, lets just say that I don’t believe or disbelieve it.
Let us just see, with a totally open mind, whether there is, in fact, ANYTHING at all that can be done to turn on the creative tap once more.
Well, here are few things that you could try that might, just might, help.
Think about the job in hand, beforehand. Come up with just one sentence and write it. Doesn’t matter whether it is good or bad, or whether you finally delete it entirely when you finish your writing.
Cant think of a good first sentence?
Start with the second sentence, or the third, or even the second paragraph. It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you start!
Whatever you write will get the ball rolling.
Don’t worry about being perfect. Write it now, and don’t worry about how good it is. Worry about that at the editing stage later.
Just sit down and write anything and everything that comes into your head, absolutely as fast as you can hit the keys on the keyboard. “Write like a maniac” is one way I’ve heard of describing this process.
This way, you don’t worry, or overthink, and fear goes right out of the window!
The gas bill that you just cannot get out of your mind?
Here’s something (admittedly pretty silly) that I do that gets over this one. I get a favorite picture, and pin it up on the board with the bill hidden behind it! Sure, I know it’s still there, but I can’t see it, (out of sight, out of mind?) and I have “disguised” it as something far more palatable!
Basically, sorry to tell you this but the writers block is not an extant being, it doesn’t really exist of its own accord and the only reason that it can control you is because you are content to let it do so.
Thus, only you can banish it, so listen to a favorite piece of music to empty your mind (in a positive way), read a book that is perhaps similar to what you need to write (for inspiration), promise yourself a favorite treat when you have finished one page, or whatever else you can think of that will get you moving again!
You just need to do something. Otherwise, you could possibly just sit there forever, and that is going to be pretty darned boring, huh?