Coping with Writer's Block

Why Do You Have Writer’s Block?

A recurring topic on Internet writers’ groups is writers’ block. The writers discussing the cursed block range from beginners to old pros at the writing game. Here are some suggestions that came out in a recent discussion as possible reasons for writers’ block.

  • Not thinking through a situation carefully enough

When the first blush of an idea strikes, the immediate feeling is to sit down and capture it on paper. However, rushing to write before the idea is fully formed can have detrimental effects…suddenly you find yourself painted into a corner with no way out.

  • No outline

This is related to the previous problem. Many experts believe that without an outline, you’re doomed to failure. Even if it is nothing more than a few lines describing the story, an outline is essential. Even a brief article needs to have its beginning, middle and end sketched out before you begin. Otherwise, it is guaranteed that you will bog down.

  • Being bored with what you’re writing

Don’t write it. If it bores you, imagine how the reader will feel about it. If every section of the work you’re writing bores you, dump the entire project. Chances are you are writing something not because you care about it but because you think this type of writing is easy. Confession writing and romance writing are often thought of, by amateurs, as “easy” markets where anything sells. Consequently many people who never read either attempt to rattle off a romance and suddenly find themselves blocked.

  • Not writing every day but only when the muse strikes

You must have a schedule for writing. Ideally, this would be every day. Even if you end up tossing out what you write, you’ve got to be serious about it. Real writers do not wait until the muse strikes. That is an indulgence purely for the dabbler.

  • Weariness

One problem for some writers is that they have a job that involves writing. They head in to the office, write reports, memos, whatever, all day long. Then they head home and the thought of looking at a keyboard overwhelms them.

There are two things such a person can do: quit the job or write in the morning. Neither is easy but if the person really wants to write, some adjustment in the current lifestyle must be made.

Hints for Breaking the Block

  • Have several projects going at the same time

If you’re burned out and can’t finish one piece of work, switch to the other. Often putting the work in progress to the back of your mind helps. The subconscious mulls it over while you are consciously working on something else.

  • Freewriting

Since you have to be at your keyboard daily (or at least 5 days a week), develop the habit of freewriting. There are a number of creativity books which suggest starting off your day with morning pages. One of the most popular is Julia Cameron’s [amazon text=The Artist’s Way&asin=B006H19H3M].

Simply write whatever comes to your head. If you can’t think of anything, write that you can’t think of anything. A good recommendation is if all else fails, describe what is around you.

The most dangerous (to your writing career) thing to do is to give in to writer’s block. If you do, suddenly you will find that decades have passed and all you can do is mourn what might have been.