Daunting. Overwhelming. Terrifying. It’s just a blank page, but you can’t come up with even one thought to scribble on it. No new story. All your brilliant ideas you were bubbling over with suddenly gone.
You had just penned a daring cliffhanger the day before. It even had you wondering what was going to happen next. Now, you can’t come up with another scene for the life of you. And you have another 50,000 words to write in under five weeks.
What do these terrifying scenarios have in common? Writer’s block!
Have you experienced it? Has the shadow of its dark specter threatened your writing path? I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to ever fear it again!
An Alternate Definition
Before we can overcome something – anything – we have to understand what it really is. So, what is writer’s block? Is it a lack of imagination? A lack of talent? (I think all writers, when they experience writer’s block, find these two fears closest to their heart.) A punishment meted out by an underfed creative muse? Did you know that, in most cases, it is non of the above. In fact, so long as you actually can write (Have you written something, anything, before? Good! Than you know you can write.), it is never a lack of talent that gives you writer’s block. Instead, writer’s block is a lack of passion.
That’s right. Passion. That driving fuel behind all that you do, especially your creative writing. Writer’s block is just the label we writers give to our lagging passion. Like a fire, our passion has to be fed. It will die if we don’t give it fuel and air.
It’s time to stop using writer’s block as an excuse to not write! Don’t you agree? Would you like to know what to do when you do find your passion waning? (As a fire grows dimmer before it is stoked, so our passion can also begin to ebb before we remember it must be refreashed.)
Overcome Writer’s Block
The solution to writer’s block is simple. A one word answer.
That’s right. When you feel your love of writing waning, keep writing! Just like when you are climbing a hill and find yourself tired, you keep climbing! You will never reach the mountain top if you stop when you are tired and wait expectantly for someone else to carry you up. Writing, like any other creative endeavor, is work. It might be a labor of love and therefore be easy and pleasurable most of the time, but it is still work. Just like sewing, or drawing, or baking even. Writing requires effort. Because writing is a labor of love, I think we writers are shocked when all of a sudden it feels like work when we are stuck with an uncooperative character or a plot problem. When writing feels like work, though, it is not time to give up! Instead, it is time to press on. Persevere. And marvel at the new heights you are about to scale. (This goes for any creative endeavor.)
Now, there is another fear that is often included under the general term “writer’s block”, and that is the fear of a blank page. When you freeze up and can’t think of a single thing to write as you stare at a blank computer screen or empty notebook before you, even though you just completed a fabulous novel just a week ago. I feel this way myself often, when starting a new book. When I am in the middle of writing a book, the words and chapters I’ve already completed are comforting. I might not know where I will eventually end up, but I know what I need to be writing about with the next word I pen. No matter how much and how often I write, though, I still find that the first sentence of anything is the hardest.
The exercise of free writing can be greatly freeing if you find that you, too, shy away from that blank page. Have you heard of free writing before? I’m sure you have – it is an exercise included in most high school and college English classes. Simply, free writing is where you sit down and, for a set amount of time such as five or ten minutes, you write any and everything that comes into your head, as it comes into your head. Even if the first thing you write is, “I don’t know what to write. What am I doing here. Seriously. This is a crazy exercise. But, look – I’m actually writing! Okay, maybe this isn’t half bad. Now, lets see. What do I really want to be thinking about right now. I know, the setting of my next book. Hmmm…” And on and on it goes. This exercise helps us get used to putting down our thoughts on that blank page. Just getting it all out there. After all, the essential editing process comes later. Once you have something to edit.
Constantly Resupply Your Creative Material
Of course, no matter how much you persevere in your writing, your productivity and passion will still peter out if you don’t constantly resupply your creative material. So while we are persevering through the uphill climbs and working on becoming friends with the blank page, we also need to be feasting upon creative inspiration. Fill your life and your mind with new material. With the activities and thoughts you find inspiring. Take the time to observe everything around you, such as the little girl at the park who is completely absorbed in smelling a rose. Is she seeing fairies dancing just beyond the petals? Find the story behind all that you observe. See with your imagination. Surround yourself with what you find beautiful. And you will never run out of creative inspiration. I’ve written an entire blog post on the subject, if you want to pop over here and read it.
Are you ready to banish writer’s block through perseverance? Wonderful! I’m so excited for the both of us!
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