The Real Way to Combat Writer's Block

14:32:00 Ivvie Bengtsson 0 Comments

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One of the most frequented topics in the writing community is writer's block. Although a lot has been said about why it's happening and how to overcome it, most of those methods go to great lengths to present simple every-day activities as the "cure" to you writer's block. There is a plethora of options to choose from - do house chores, watch movies, go out with friends, have sex, get drunk, lay on the ground crying... There are all kinds of tips for overcoming writer's block, and they vary from absurd to helpful. Today's topic of discussion, however, is digging deeper than temporary relief and analyzing the root of the problem and working through it from the ground up.

What is Writer's Block?

Essentially, writer's block is a creator's block specific for writers. It can be caused by a gamut of reasons such as insecurities, continuous lack of consistency and focus, and so on. Temporary relief is one way to overcome a creative pit but at some point, the novelty will fade, and you will need something better and long-term. The real way to combat and prevent writer's block is to change your mindset about it. Stop viewing it as a writing illness of some sort, stop giving it so much power. Those who allow a hiccup to turn into a permanent halt abandon their craft for good. To change our mindset we need to analyze some common excuses and fight them down. Here are three of the most common excuses I used to come up with and how I got over all of them - no, not by looking for inspiration.
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You should combat writer's block on a fundamental level.

  • "I don't know what to write."

Being dumbstruck about the direction of your current writing session can easily discourage you from filling out the page. While that is entirely understandable, it is no reason to stop trying. If you have no direction, then dedicate your writing session to figuring something out, even if it's what to write in the next paragraph, and then write it. Moreover, writers always have something else they can do instead of drafting to move their story forward- editing, fleshing out a character, figuring out the setting, doing research, brainstorming different aspects to add to your story... Or you could play with something new altogether. All progress is significant progress, especially when you're feeling stuck. Not knowing what to write next is no excuse to skip out on your writing session.

  • "I don't know enough about the story."

Not knowing enough about the story you're working on is an integral and obvious stage of the writing process. That's what outlining, and brainstorming are for. You can either start tracing the red thread of your story or work on something unrelated until you figure it out- it's all good as long as you're consistent with your writing. There is a lot that goes into crafting a story and in the writing process itself. Focus on characters, further outlines, editing what you have so far...If you don't know your story, then get familiar with it. Work actively on getting to know it better and figuring out the nitty-gritty. Draft whatever you figure out but do not allow being unfamiliar with your story to act as a reason to postpone its progress. Don't stagnate and interrupt the flow of your consistency. Get outlining and get writing.

  • "My writing is shit."

There are two ways to go about this particular conundrum. For one, you can irrevocably delete every single word and never write again because every first draft is inevitably bad, especially compared to the finished state of the story. If you're feeling dramatic, you can eat the paper as if an enemy is going to expose it to the world. The point here is simple- producing subpar unedited writing is no excuse for you to put down the pen. Editing and delete buttons exist for a reason. After all, you will never become more proficient if you skip writing sessions. The feeling of being not good enough is real for every creator and every person no matter what they're doing- you're not alone. What will make you into a writer is writing. Your drafts will always get better with editing, and that's ok because as long as you don't skip out on your writing sessions, you will get more proficient with story crafting and language as well. As long as you hit that word count, you've done well.

Conclusion: there are very few acceptable reasons to skip a writing session. Feeling like you're not good enough? Get to writing and become better. Comparing yourself to other writers? Turn it into an inspiration and something to learn from and get to writing. You don't have a direction to your story? Outline and brainstorm some more and find the direction, then get to writing. Everything you put down is painful to read later? Write it all over again, then edit it, then go on writing. If you love writing and you're serious about being a writer or a professional novelist, then you won't let any excuses to take writing away from you. Analyze your ''reasons'' not to write and fight against them. Set a small goal, try again and again, but never let insecurities, laziness, or comparison stop you from doing what you love.

Thank you for reading! If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them in the comments bellow. Do you have a writerly friend who could find this post useful? Share on social media!