Does it exist? Or is it a myth?
Some writers believe it does exist and they talk about having it. Then others say that they haven’t had it since it doesn’t exist. The truth is that writer’s block has no physical manifestation and some people have it because they have simply written something that has led them into that position or have written too much in a short space of time and are suffering from burnout.
There is no pathogen or cause for writer’s block. It is simply something that won’t affect some of them. My theory is that this only happens to writers who don’t plan meticulously before they start writing. You are less likely to encounter writer’s block when you already know what is coming next. Those who don’t plan, may go off on different tangents and write themselves into a hole. Another point, don’t write as fast as you can or you will get tired and writer’s block will hit you. If you get burnout, just take a day off to relax and enjoy yourselves. Writer’s block for writers is what sick days are to employees. Sometimes you just cannot go into work.
It may result in a few days or even weeks of not being able to write but there are many good points about writer’s block that many do not understand. Instead of describing writer’s block as a curse writers face, we should consider it to be a sign that something has gone wrong and needs to be fixed.
What to do when you have writer’s block?
1) Go back and read through what you have written recently
2) Read/study your outline. If you don’t have one, make one. I’ll write a post about outlining methods soon.
3) Take a break. This could be a day or two. During this break, consider your outline and think about what could come next. Don’t write during this break.
4) Go back to your writing and read through it again while making notes on what needs to come next.
5) Continue writing. If you find you still cannot, something has gone wrong in your writing and you need to go back and find it. You have written yourself into a hole.
So what do I think about writer’s block?
Well I’ve had it quite a few times and it can definitely get really annoying. Due to other problems and writer’s block, I’ve had periods of time (anywhere from a few days to about half a year) where I haven’t written at all. It can be stressful at times and at other times, I am so stressed I just stop. I do think it exists but I don’t interpret it as being something bad and instead, I like to know that my body is telling me that I need to stop and take a while off. It comforts me that my body is telling me when enough is enough.
My personal tips:
1) Don’t worry. It will go away soon if you let it. Don’t stress. Stress = can’t write.
2) Keep a diary. When you do get writer’s block, at least you have something to read. Plus, diaries can help you identify where your problems are. And they’ll last forever unlike the memories stored in your brain which will decay as time passes.
3) Explore. Don’t sit in your living room, in front of the television with a packet of crisps. First, you’ll get fat. Second, going out and doing something such as taking clothes to a charity store, going on a run, going swimming, taking a hike, will be stuff you can do while you de-stress and give you more material to write about. Write about what you know. If you spend all day on the settee, you won’t have much to write about and you won’t be a very interesting person.
4) Take a long shower. You’ll feel refreshed and comforted at the same time. I find that my best ideas come to me when I’m in the shower. I don’t know why but maybe it’s because you’re not distracted when in there.
5) Be happy. Smile. It’s good for you.