We all have different reasons for writing something down. Perhaps it’s a deliverable for a client, or you’re thinking of writing something witty for an advertisement, or a blog. Maybe you like to write to tell a story, or to clear your mind of a nagging thought. Whatever the reason, excellent writing skills can be your greatest ally both in business and your personal life, but what happens when your mind runs dry, and the ideas you try to get on paper just don’t appear. What if your mind is bursting with ideas, but the logical path to put them down, won’t show itself?
I’m afraid to tell you, you might have Writer’s Block!
We’ve all experienced it in one form or another. My colleague experiences Writer’s Block almost daily, in her work much of what she does is business writing and although the work still gets done, there are certain points each day where she struggles to find the words or organize her thoughts to create a piece of work. So, who better to give some advice on overcoming Writer’s Block?
Her advice was “Just write something!”.
What? That’s your advice, but that doesn’t seem right…
In thinking there must be more to it, I searched a little more to solve this mystery of Writer’s Block, the reason it happens and how to get through it.
The Cause of Writer’s Block
Writer’s Block is a common term given for the problem of being “blocked” from the ability to write, but is not in itself a reason for the inability to write, only a term given to the result. There are a multitude of things that can be preventing the progression of your writing and much of it is brought on by fear. This can be the fear of failure and humiliation, rejection and even fear of success. Much of an author’s work brings out a part of them, brings out their voice on a subject, and showcases their knowledge. If this is rejected, it can be a bit of a blow and there are some that fear this experience. On the flip side, there are some that may fear the success of writing, as it causes change. Perhaps the writing has been just for the love of writing and not for the achievement of success. This article on copyblogger breaks this concept down a little further. There are also external causes such as distraction and environment, which can be overcome by re-adjusting locations and setting, but it’s the internal processes halted by fear that seem to have a greater hold. In summary, the cause of Writer’s Block is personal to the writer and as a result, so is the solution to overcome it.
Wait a minute! Could it be that my colleague is right? While her advice seemed vague and unhelpful at first, this advice is the result of her application of the tips and tricks available for overcoming Writer’s Block in her particular case. Let’s dig into some of those tips and tricks to see what might be helpful in resolving Writer’s Block and see what could work for us.
Overcoming Writer’s Block
Some of the most common tips out there to overcome Writer’s Block include:
• Write something down, perhaps in a brainstorming type of framework. Just throw some ideas on paper to get started (doodling ideas counts!);
• Make sure you are writing about a topic you understand;
• Try using open ended statements that can lead to another, then another, etc;
• Make a schedule for yourself to sit down and focus on writing (my writing time is Sunday morning);
• Get up and do something physically active while blocked because inspiration can come from the most unexpected places;
• Take a break and clear your thoughts, whether it’s a walk, meditating or another relaxing activity, a break from the topic can help. (Just in case – keep a notepad and paper nearby for capture those surprise ideas that come to you);
• Read something (when I need a little writer’s motivation boost and inspiration, I re-read Stephen King’s “On Writing” for inspiration.)
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