Writer’s block is the state of being unable to produce new work or experiencing a creative slowdown. It is a temporary or lasting belief that you lack original ideas, and this delays the writing process for a certain period. It can be measured by the time a writer takes without producing new content when they are trying to. Writer’s block affects almost every writer, and while some believe it is a myth, research has proven this to be a real condition.
Causes of Writer’s Block
Self-doubt is one major cause of this problem. It occurs when you do not believe in your work, which can lead to anxiety. You may fear that you are incapable of writing or worry that readers or editors might reject your work. The task at hand may also be intimidating, and you may wonder if people care about your work. All these scenarios can occur, especially for new writers.
Perfectionism can also cause delays. It limits your ability to come up with new ideas and produce creative writing. Improper timing can also result in writer’s block. You may feel like you are not ready, or that it is simply not the right time to write. Waiting for ideas to be ready leads to delays in the writing process.
Other causes include distraction from the environment, procrastination, apathy, and anger that previous work went unnoticed. You can also experience physical illness or depression that can lead to a block. Luckily, there are cures for these blocks that can help you overcome and continue with your writing.
How to Overcome Writer’s Block
Extensive research has proven that you can overcome this problem by learning simple techniques and exercises. Researchers have discovered a range of solutions, from settling deadlines to altering the time of the day when you write and using mindful meditation. Psychologists suggest that removing anxiety and building confidence can help to treat these blocks as well. Here are a few ways to deal with writer’s block.
Take a Break
Taking a break can help you deal with a writing block. Getting away from your writing desk and doing something else like taking a walk or watching a movie can help ease the pressure. Tiredness limits the creative process and leads to frustrations, which in turn lower your productivity. Breaks can help you refresh and see your work in a new light.
Sometimes you may find it hard coming up with an introduction, and this can create a block. You can try writing smaller pieces of your work without necessarily knowing where or how they fit together. Avoiding areas of great difficulty will ensure that you keep going. You can start by writing what you know as you piece out the rest of the project along the way.
Creating a Deadline
Deadlines present time pressure that can increase your focus and force you to make decisions that you have been avoiding. It might also help to create a writing schedule to help eliminate distractions. A schedule needs to be specific and favorable to you. A regular schedule will help you push through and discipline yourself during writing.
Using a Visual Process
Creating mind maps or drawings can help you unblock your mind when words fail you. Using a pen and paper instead of a computer can also help you create a visual process. Other analog tools can boost your creativity and bring out your artistic persona.
Doing physical exercise will improve and encourage creative thinking. It increases blood flow to the brain. This also improves your alertness and increases your energy. Exercises that engage your brain will improve your thinking, emotional control, planning, and creativity.
Freewriting involves writing without pausing to check for errors such as sentence structure, grammar, spelling, or any other writing mistakes. Some of the work you write may not be necessarily useful, but it is important since it keeps you going. It frees you from apathy, doubt, or self-consciousness, which can contribute to writer’s block. It also helps you overcome perfectionism and increases your inner creative resources.
This technique emphasizes using a little pressure to help you through a block. It involves deciding on the material to write, then setting a timer for 25 minutes and writing non-stop until the timer rings. You will then take a five-minute break and repeat the steps while sticking to the clock.
The 30-Minute Challenge
This technique involves setting a timer for thirty minutes and writing down the events of your day. After the end of the session, note down your distractions such as thoughts, noises, or other people. You can then research ways that can help you remove those distractions from your writing routine selectively. This process is to be repeated until you find an ideal writing space.
Re-Read Your Writing
If you have encountered a block while writing, you can start reading your work from the beginning while pretending you have never seen it before. You can read your favorite work that you did previously to identify elements that you liked. These may include transition, tone, point of view, vocabulary, sentence length, and structure. You can then mimic these elements and apply them to your current work.
Meditation is a very helpful activity since it helps to cultivate your ability to focus. You can look for a comfortable place, close your eyes, and concentrate on your breath for about five or ten minutes. It can also help unlock your creative thinking. An alternative way to meditate involves listening to sounds through headphones. These sounds present different frequencies that trigger your brain to produce brain waves at the rate of the frequency.
There are many other techniques and ways that people use to deal with writer’s block. Some are well-researched, while others are mere suggestions and opinions. It is important to know that different people react differently to these techniques, and some of them may not work for everyone. Writers are encouraged to try different techniques to establish what works best for them. If you are a new writer, contact Michele Campanelli for more advice that will help kick-start your career.