How to Overcome Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is experienced by every writer at some point. If you are a writer, it is fairly inevitable. You stare at the your display, fingers poised over the keyboard, but nothing comes. It is like you have lost the ability to produce any new work, or at the very least, you are experiencing a massive creative slowdown. You are not alone in this. Some great writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby), Herman Melville (Moby Dick), and Joseph Mitchell (The New Yorker), have suffered from this affliction. So have cartoonist Charles M.Schultz, composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, and songwriter Adele.
Common Causes of Writer’s Block
Conflicted feelings are often what causes writer’s block. You know how it goes … the writing needs to be perfect … there is a deadline looming … we want the project completed on time. We know what we know about our subject matter but we don’t know what our readers will know about it. We know how the story should unfold, but we don’t have all the research or facts we need. Our creative mind is stuck in neutral. And, no matter what we try, it will not get back in gear.
Some Common Suggestions to Overcome Writer’s Block
There are several several popular tips for overcoming writer’s block. I included a few below. But, to be honest, I have not had much luck with any of these.
- Step away: Do something else creative like maybe working on your website, painting, playing an instrument. Exercise the creative side of your brain and you should soon be back into the groove of writing.
- Move: Dance, ride a bike, do yoga, practice Tai Chi, or swim. Activities such as these will relax your mind and let the creative process flow again,
- Eliminate Distractions: Turn off your phone, unplug from the internet. Straighten up your work area. Ask you friends to honor your time devoted to writing. Writing takes solitude.
What I Have Found to Work Best
Sometime ago I was at a North Carolina Writer’s Network writer’s conference at UNC Greensboro, In one of the sessions I attended, the presenter discussed this very problem. He explained that often, writer’s block is caused when your brain is unhappy with the direction your narrative has taken. He suggested looking carefully at where your narrative started down its current path … and deleting everything from that point forward. Yes … it certainly seems a bit drastic, but I used this technique twice while writing Serpents Underfoot. And, it worked very well. In addition, you can also tailor this technique to be chapter specific. This technique does not necessarily need to be applied to the entire project. If you write like I do, you may do some jumping around.