Writer’s block might seem debilitating, but anyone can overcome it. The fact that it happens is not the issue; it’s how a writer responds. Understanding what writer’s block is can make it easier to dig one’s way out.
What is Writer’s Block?
Writer’s block is not a medical condition that renders the mind empty. Writer’s block is merely an excuse. The block is a mental wall for writers when they fear self-reflection or worry that their work isn’t good enough.
What Causes It?
Fear. Many people never become writers because they fear exposing their ideas or receiving scrutiny. Fortunately, most fears will likely never come to pass, and there’s more to gain when pushing through the fear.
Perfectionism. Writers should hold themselves to high standards. However, writers are human, and there is no such thing as perfection. However, perfection leads to procrastination, which leads to paralysis. Perfection is not the gold standard, but quality is.
Overcoming Writer’s Block
Perhaps the best way to tackle writer’s block is to just write. If the thought of writing conjures feelings of failure, remember that quitting is the only kind of failure. A blocked writer needs to keep hacking away until they find something that works. When just writing seems too overwhelming, there are a few simple tricks to unlock the block:
- Get revved up physically. A walk, run, or bike ride can recharge and reinvigorate the mind.
- Freewrite. Set a timer for two minutes and simply write non-stop. Write whatever comes to mind; something interesting might emerge.
- Remove distractions. It’s okay to turn off email and social media notifications.
- Brainstorm ideas. During brainstorming, no idea is wrong. Corrections can come later.
- Keep the mind turned on. Good ideas often emerge while taking a shower or brewing a pot of coffee.
Remember that writing doesn’t have to be good right away. The simple act of putting pen to paper or pounding the keyboard can create momentum that will end the stagnation and render invalid the excuse of writer’s block.