The dreaded writer’s block. Two words that would bring even the most determined of writers to their knees.
Like any true horror, it’s not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when.
I don’t need to explain how badly it sucks. You’ve been there. I’ve been there. In fact, I was there right before I starting writing this blog. Not for a side project, not for another book. But for this very blog.
I sat and stared at the blank document – I tried to think of something to write. Nothing came. I thought a bit harder. A bit longer. I messed around with the color of the headers and the fonts until I was certain I would be inspired. That didn’t help. I took a break, watched a few home renovation videos on YouTube (seriously y’all, the way I feel about Quartz Countertops is frankly inappropriate). I ate dinner! I rubbed my dogs behind their ears! And then! I returned to stare at the same blank document with a sinking sense of “I don’t wanna” filling my stomach. Further, I can’t. I got nothing.
Funny how the dreaded writer’s block came to knock me in the back of the head when I naively thought I could help learn you a thing.
But that’s the nature of the game. Sometimes the brain doesn’t want to work. Sometimes the fingers feel like lead and even the idea of typing three letters is enough to make you want to pull your own hair out.
Your creativity is a muscle. Sometimes, if it’s overworked, it’ll give out on you. Sometimes, after months of disuse it won’t want to warm up. And then, other times, it gets all twitchy and you have absolutely no idea why it’s doing what it’s doing.
There is no formula to getting past writer’s block.
There are no tips. There are no tricks. There’s no meditation, clean eating, juice cleanse, or exercise regiment that’s going to kickstart your ability to create.
The simple fact of the matter is that you just have to write through it. You have to stare at the gigantic wall in front of your face and plow right through it.
I know, I know. It sounds crazy, right? And I’m sure there are more than a few of you who are rolling your eyes like, “yeah, if I could write anything then I wouldn’t be in this situation.”
Well, my friend. You’re wrong. You can write something. It’s just gonna be bad. And you’re just going to have to make peace with that.
I know! It’s not the most encouraging thing I’ve ever said, but hear me out!
In order to get through your writer’s block you have to write. But you can’t write because your brain is working against you. So you sit and think about writing – wishing you could get back into it, which then creates this self-feeding cycle of having writer’s block and feeling like garbage about it.
The only way to get out of that cycle is to get something down on paper. Or in your document. Or drawn into the sand, or body paint, I don’t know what you’re doing. And hey, I don’t judge.
You just have to accept what you come up with. It’s like getting back on a bike – it’ll be shaky and boy-golly are you going to be engaging muscles you haven’t thought about in a while. But soon enough, you’ll be in a groove. The road will seem a bit less rocky, and before you know it, you’re popping wheelies and riding around like a speed demon!
Don’t trap yourself into believing that every word you write has to be golden. It doesn’t.
Holding yourself up to an impossible standard is only going to cripple you in the end. As much as we would always like to be on our “A game”, it’s impossible. Besides. You’re forgetting that there is more to do than just writing. You’ll be coming back to make edits. To read it over again. You can come back to it on a day when you’re not suffering from writer’s block. With the bare bones there you can create something better! Or, who knows? Maybe you wrote it right the first time, despite your writer’s block (you lucky sonofa… anyway).
I know that this likely isn’t what you want to hear, but I promise you that running face-first through that wall is going to do you a world of good.
Get a good running start!
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