Every writer, at one point or the other have experienced writer’s block. You want to write, but the words won’t just flow. Sometimes, ideas avoid you like plague and you are stuck on a page for months. Writer’s block can make you feel like you have failed as a writer, so much that you give up on writing. I am here to tell you that writer’s block is something that can be overcome. It doesn’t have to be the end of your writing.
Common reasons for writer’s block are:
- Excessive criticism
- Lack of motivation
How to overcome writer’s block.
- “Is my writing good enough?” “Will people love it?” “They will make fun of me if I write this.” All these self-doubting questions can paralyze any writer’s creativity. We don’t intend to, but these questions flood our mind without warning. When thoughts like these cross my mind while writing, my hands freezes over my keyboard. It can take me another one hour before I am able to write anything else. Doubting your mind and what it can produce is the fastest way to stop your creativity. It is okay to be afraid, it can be a motivation for becoming a better writer. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes while writing. Acknowledge that you are afraid and let that push you to write better. Keep writing, keep getting better.
- Be kind to yourself. Excessive self-criticism is bad for creativity. Pat yourself on the shoulder when you write a page, do the same when you write five pages. Trust that you are growing. Respect your inner critic, listen to it and move on. Don’t be hard on yourself when your editors send your manuscript or drafts back to you and it is coloured in red and pink lines. Start calling yourself a writer once you have written something. There is no induction ceremony to becoming a writer, you just need to write. It’s a process. Again, be kind to yourself.
- Comparison kills. If you want to compare your work with another work, you can, but make sure it’s to challenge yourself. You can compare to evaluate or to build yourself up, not to pull yourself down. Your writing style doesn’t have to be like anybody else’s. Develop your writing style.
- Surround yourself with people that value what you do. This is very important and I wish I can stress it more than I am trying to right now. Surround yourself with people that will encourage, motivate and push you to keep writing. The first time I told a friend that I am writing, part of me expected her to laugh because I have never written before. She didn’t! Instead, she encouraged me and it gave me the motivation I needed to keep writing. If she had laughed at me, no matter how strong-willed I am, I would have stopped writing and I never would have discovered the beautiful world I create through my novels. I am 100% sure you won’t be reading this blog right now because there won’t be Nova Creative Writers. I was blessed to have good friends and a wonderful family that believed in me and that is a good motivator. Surround yourself with people like that.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect. You will always see something to edit, to add or to remove in your writing. Trying to make it perfect and get the perfect words can get you stuck on a page for months, if not years. Whatever way the words come, write it down. Edit, edit, send to your editor, send to your proof-reader, read over and let it go!
- Avoid distractions. Imagine writing a fictional novel, the words are flowing as your fingers clank on the keyboard rapidly. You are in the zone and watching every scene play out in your head and then suddenly, your little sister drops a stainless plate in the kitchen! That will definitely break your flow. When you try to start writing again, you realize you don’t know what to write. Your hands keep hovering over the keyboard. Like clockwork, have a writing routine for yourself and stick to it. Except in case of emergency, I don’t reply to social media messages when I am writing, it is a serious distraction. Be disciplined enough to avoid distractions you can avoid. We can’t avoid our siblings, but we can avoid social media.
- Take a break. Sometimes, all you really need is a break. Take a break from writing and do something else. You will have a fresh perspective when you take a step back. When I don’t know the next dialogue or next scene, I turn off my laptop and lie down. Laying down and building my story half-asleep, always works for me. I write in my sleep, so when I wake up, my writing flows. When I have enough to write, I stand up and start writing again. It’s okay to rest.
With love from, S.A. Trinity