Does Writer's Block Really Exist?
I’m still in the middle stages where I believe Writer’s Block to be a total falsehood, and then when I have bad days Writer’s Block totally gets blamed for everything. When I’m on the verge of becoming convinced that Writer’s Block doesn’t exist, I’m tipped ferociously back down the other side of total belief in the thing.
But before I start spouting arguments for or against it, here a five things I believe about Writer's Block:
I believe Writer’s Block needs to be renamed.
I believe Writer’s Block isn’t so much this huge wall, where all the words are stopped up on one side with you on the other, as it is a self-doubting blanket suffocating you.
I believe Writer’s Block is the dead feeling of creativity that needs stirring back to life.
I believe Writer’s Block is the sinful little devil telling you that you can’t do it. You can’t write. You can’t tell a story with meaning or depth, or a story that changes lives. You can’t. You can’t. You can’t.
I believe Writer’s Block can be silenced. Not once and for all, we’re just humans, it’ll come back again when you’re least expecting it. But like a harrowing nightmare can be snapped from mind by a sudden wakening, Writer’s Block can be silenced.
5 Ways to Silence Writer's Block
So regardless of whether or not you believe in Writer's Block, regardless of what you call it, here a just a few tips I've been using over the last year to keep Writer's Block at bay.
1. Keep writing. No matter how ugly your writing gets. You can only stop Writer’s Block first by writing a relentless storm of words.
2. Stop being a perfectionist. Writer’s Block is a very good friend to the perfectionist. But perfectionists aren’t allowed when you're writing first drafts. At least, if they are come they aren't going to have a very good time. You can’t be perfect and neither can your writing(will you come have a good cry with me over this when we’re finished? I’ll bring the chocolate). Your writing can only be made better, and so can you.
3. Read. The more you read, the more you fill with inspiration and word-flow, sentence structure and character arcs, story techniques and story worlds. The more you read the more you’ll know how to write a story and how NOT to write a story.
4. Starve it. You starve it by not listening to it. And yes, you can choose to block out the annoying voice beating your right cerebral hemisphere senseless simply by not listening to it. How do you not listen to it? By squeezing that voice out of your mind and writing out the words of your story as they come. Focus, really focus, on what you’re writing. When you’re lapsing into a far off distance, forgetting about what you’re doing, and the little voice comes in to tell you it’s too hard--reread the sentence you just wrote. Ignore the voice and get back on track, remember what you’re doing, what you’re writing, what you want.
5. Name it. Most people are afraid of things they don’t have a name for or something they don’t understand. Once you name your Writer’s Block, once you understand what it is, it’s all the easier to not be afraid of it, all the easier to understand it. Some people call it the Inner Editor who sits on your shoulder pointing out all your mistakes. I believe the only thing stopping me is myself and my doubt. This is what I understand it to be. I don't have a name for it per se, but I know what it is and I understand it. That's the important thing. The better you understand it the easier it will be to stop it.
It gets easier to ignore Writer’s Block. When you get a routine going, ignoring Writer’s Block becomes a routine, too. But then comes the day when everything goes wrong. Those days are around, lurking outside the gloriousness of having written. Those days you totally believe in the existence of Writer’s Block. But those days you just have to write something. If you don’t, that means you've lost and everyone but you won. But Writer's Block can be beaten. I know because I've beaten it. And sometimes, yes, sometimes what I thought was the worst thing ever turned out to be not so bad after all.
This post is an excerpt from my free e-book.
Outlining Your Book For NaNoWriMo is for pantsers and planners alike, whether you're doing NaNoWriMo or want to strike out on your own courageous noveling adventure!