A guide to understanding writer’s block and tips to overcome it

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You have no idea how long it took me to write this blog post 😿
Just kidding, this one was pretty quick; but only because I got stuck on the one I was writing before this.

Writing is considered one of the most therapeutic ways to get out of a funk. But what do you do when your writing’s in a funk? Your mind, body, and soul can’t seem to come up with words to form logical sentences that align with your topic.

According to Webster’s dictionary, writer’s block is a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece.
It’s more or less a temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with writing.

What causes writer’s block?

Here are a few things that I think may cause this feeling of discontent with your creative writing-

1. Fear of criticism and judgment

As humans, we’re always thinking of ‘what will people say?’
This applies to anything and everything if you’re a conscious person. This specific fear is what causes a hindrance in our creative thought process. If you’re constantly thinking about how your audience will react to your work, you’re not giving your mind enough space to create and churn out creative, relevant, and exciting content.

2. Perfectionism

Focusing on trying to get the perfect article might lead to subpar results. Trying to make everything perfect before even drafting your ideas is sure to limit your thoughts and make it difficult to actually get all your content down on paper.

3. Lack of internal motivation

 When you’re even a little bit hesitant to tell the world your story, it’ll be evident in the form of writers’ block. You’ll find yourself wanting to do everything else but write. You’ll want to delay it as much as possible until it’s 4 am and you have no other option but to jot something down.

4. Too much external pressure

A lot of us are like diamonds, producing shining results when under pressure. But sometimes, too much pressure from deadlines may cause your tap of thoughts to shut. When there’s pressure on you to complete a piece, you might be thinking more about how you don’t have time to complete it rather than spending that time actually writing what you’re supposed to.

Tips to overcome writer’s block

Hundreds of people have shared their experiences with writers’ block all over the internet. Almost all of them also talk about the things they’ve tried to overcome this phenomenon. I’ve compiled a list of things that definitely work for me and I think you should give these a try too.

1. Do something else

This is always a good way to recover from your creative slowdown. Focusing on a different activity gives your mind a little break from trying to write and your subconscious mind refreshes itself allowing you to let your thoughts flow freely when you get back to it. You could go for a walk, watch a movie, talk to a friend, literally anything else that relaxes you. You can even take a nap. 😀

2. Freewriting

 Freewriting or even journaling is a surefire way to get your creative juices flowing. This helps when you’re unsure of what you want to write and are struggling to move forward. Once all your thoughts are on paper, it’s easy to pick sections, sentences, or even words that can work as inspiration to continue writing as if you were never stuck.

3. Listen to music

 Music is one of the greatest stress-relievers. And since it’s pretty obvious that a creative block will stress you out, it helps to tackle one issue at a time. Listening to music, specifically, genres that you find helps you relax, will help you release any knots in your thought process, and allows space for better rumination.

4. Write for yourself

When you get stuck in the middle of writing something, try to figure out if what you’re writing is because someone wants something a certain way or if you’re writing it for yourself. Writing for someone else will always make you think twice about what you need to include or what you need to keep out of the article. Constantly thinking about this is what causes this loss of ability to write.

5. Imperfect words

This simply means that when you’re spilling out your thoughts for your project, it helps to just write it exactly as you think it in the first go. This ensures that you don’t miss out on what can be a brilliant idea. You can always go back later and dress it up, making it look pretty for your readers. If you aim for perfection in the first draft, it’s inevitable that you’ll get stuck somewhere and might lose your trail of thought.

6. Change of scenery

If you’ve been holed up in a cubicle or a tiny office space, it would help to go out and maybe get some inspiration from nature. I find that if you regularly switch your scenery when writing, the flow of thoughts is much more flexible.

7. Write something else

 which is what I’m doing currently. If you’re stuck on a particular project, it sometimes helps to work on a different project. It’s possible that ideas for both are fighting for a chance to spill out at the same time. Putting one on hold and completing the other allows you to clearly work on both projects one at a time.

8. Read up/research on your topic

 When you’re unsure about something, don’t you always Google it to try and get more information to support your thoughts? Well, why not use the same solution when you get stuck writing a piece? Reading up more on your project will always give you more knowledge about what you’re working on. And if what you find doesn’t support a point you’re trying to make, research will definitely provide you with another. Kinda like ‘When one door closes, another opens.’

9. Change your perspective

 When you write something, you’ll almost always be writing based on how you see things. There is a possibility that the way you see something might hit a dead end, which then leads to what you can call a block. Changing perspectives opens the doors to so many different opinions and gives you so much more to write about.

10. Stay in the chair

This may seem a little contradictory to a few tips I’ve shared above. But sometimes it’s just the way you train your mind to work. For some people, staying put and waiting for inspiration to strike in its own time really helps. It tricks your brain into thinking that you will not be entertaining a block and it’ll work itself out on its own. Eventually.

This last point raises an important question- Could writer’s block really just be a Myth?

Author Susan Reynolds doesn’t believe in writer’s block. She mentions in her book “Fire Up Your Writing Brain,” that writer’s block is a mental construct that doesn’t actually exist. In her article, she says, ‘Writing is a mentally challenging occupation, which requires more hard-core, cognitive expenditure than many other lines of work.’ So it’s not really a psychological inhibition.
Blogger David. H. Safford also talks about this in an article claiming writer’s block is a lie. He says, ‘What we are experiencing is the self-inflicted phenomenon of writers making choices that frequently lead to failure.’

For me, writer’s block is very very real but ironically, I had no trouble whatsoever writing this post 😎

That’s it, folks!

Also, here’s another post I think would be helpful if you’re just starting out – How to write a good blog post — Step by step guide for beginners

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