You have most probably heard about it at least once in your life, and maybe you’ve even experienced it. But is writer’s block a self-limiting excuse, or is it real?
The debate is still very much alive in the writing community. But whatever side you are on, writer’s block is a problem that needs a solution. First, start thinking about why your inspiration is low. Do you write as a hobby, or do you write professionally? If you’re in it full-time, you might want to start looking for solutions right away because writing will be part of your life.
Here are the thoughts of famous author Philip Pullman about writer’s block:
“Writer’s block…a lot of howling nonsense would be avoided if, in every sentence containing the word WRITER, that word was taken out and the word PLUMBER substituted; and the result examined for the sense it makes. Do plumbers get plumber’s block? What would you think of a plumber who used that as an excuse not to do any work that day?
The fact is that writing is hard work, and sometimes you don’t want to do it, and you can’t think of what to write next, and you’re fed up with the whole damn business. Do you think plumbers don’t feel like that about their work from time to time? Of course, there will be days when the stuff is not flowing freely. What you do then is MAKE IT UP. I like the reply of the composer Shostakovich to a student who complained that he couldn’t find a theme for his second movement. “Never mind the theme! Just write the movement!” he said.
Writer’s block is a condition that affects amateurs and people who aren’t serious about writing. So is the opposite, namely inspiration, which amateurs are also very fond of. Putting it another way: a professional writer is someone who writes just as well when they’re not inspired as when they are.”
It might be easier said than done for some. Here are five tips to get your writing flowing.
1. Take a break
Writing can be exhausting. It’s not only a mental process but also an emotional one, and for some, it can be physical too. Maybe your creative slump is due to fatigue. There’s no need to rush the creative process, so accept that you can take a break to revitalize your senses and return to your writing later. It can be as simple as taking a 15-minute walk outside or doing something you enjoy that gives you a mental break.
2. Eliminate distractions
Like any process, writing requires focus. You can’t focus on the words you want to express if you’re constantly checking your cellphone or social media. So next time you sit down to write something, try doing it without interruption. Put your cellphone in another room, and don’t check anything unrelated to your writing on the internet. See how faster and more efficient your work will be.
3. Write something else
Are you sure you got the idea you want to write on? Sometimes as writers, we have tons of ideas popping up in our heads simultaneously, but not all ideas are good ones. For example, say you write a novel and get stuck right after your introduction. Let it rest for a while and start other projects. Maybe you’ll realize your initial idea isn’t as worth exploring further as you thought. Perhaps you have no emotional attachment to that story and cannot write about it much more. Or maybe something will pop up again suddenly, and you will get back to it. Both are fine. But see, you wasted no time here by writing about something else.
4. Write anything
Sure, you probably are a perfectionist like most writers. You don’t want to write garbage, and you overthink what you want to write. But the truth is when you sit down and just start writing – writing anything – it tricks your brain into the writing process and gives a chance for an idea to spark. Even if only a couple of sentences are good, who will judge you? You can always come back later and edit your draft, but at least you’ve forced yourself into creating something.
5. Look for inspiration everywhere
Finally, whenever you feel you have absolutely no idea what to write about, just take a break, read a book or watch a movie, and create a story from those stories. You can even go with your laptop to a café and listen to people around. You would be surprised how a simple conversation between two strangers can spark an idea for your next story. The truth is, you’re not going to get any more inspired by sitting at your desk and thinking about something. So go search for inspiration; it’s everywhere and waiting for you!
So that’s it. No more writer’s block excuse; you can do it!
What are your thoughts about writer’s block? What are your favorite tips?