I’ve read so many articles and blog posts about writer’s block and how to overcome it. And they all seem to boil down to just a couple of key things:
- Writer’s block is a uniquely personal thing — every writer’s path to climbing out of the deep dark pit will be different from the next person’s.
- Writer’s block is less an actual lack of ability or inspiration and more about your mindset — which means three things: 1) that this sort of block can be found in all areas of life, not just writing; 2) writer’s block can always be conquered; and 3) you have to stop using “writer’s block” as an excuse to not write.
Writer’s block is a mindset.
Oh, don’t get me wrong — writer’s block is still a real thing. Painfully, panic-attack real.
But here’s the catch: It’s only as real as you believe it to be.
You gotta change the way you think about it.
Ask yourself some questions: Do I believe I can break through this block, whatever it takes, however long it takes? Do I have what it takes to keep going, no matter the odds?
(Spoiler alert: the correct answer to both is “yes.”)
I may feel like my idea bank is fresh out of new inspiration or material, but if I put my focus and metal energy toward creating new ideas, they will eventually come.
However, if I think or believe that I can’t do it, that I can’t write, that I can’t create anything new, it’s going to be that much harder to overcome that writer’s block. Feeling like you don’t have what it takes goes a long way in sapping the fun out of it, too. Pretty soon you won’t only feel like you can’t do it, but you’ll also won’t want to do it. You’ll lose your desire and motivation for it. And that makes it even worse.
Eventually, you’ll start to hide behind that convenient excuse of “Oh, it’s writer’s block” every time you glance guiltily at that Word document on your computer. You know you should be writing, and you really want to do it, but, you know, writer’s block. So, go away, guilt. I have a legit reason for procrastinating this time.
If you’re ever going to break out of the vicious trap of writer’s block, you have to first believe that it’s not really all it’s cracked up to be.
What I’ve found is that writer’s block is less about a lack of inspiration or writing ideas or ability, and more about one’s mental attitude.
You can have a strategy, but without the belief to back it up, you’re not going to get very far.
Writer’s block is a mindset, a perspective. And mindsets can be changed.
Just scrap that idea that you can’t, that you lack the ability or talent.
Everything you need as a writer, or as any creative artist, is already inside you. You just have to find that place where your creativity can be triggered and the inspiration starts to flow.
Where do inspiration and creativity come from anyway?
Ultimately God is the giver of every good gift we have, including both inspiration and creativity. But beyond that, there is a process we often have to go through to tap into those natural giftings and talents.
Creativity is not merely something you have — it’s something you do.
You might possess all the creative talent and ability there is to possess, but without taking action, you won’t get anywhere.
Honestly, the best solution I’ve found so far to my own writer’s block is to just start writing. It’s that simple.
Write anything that comes into your head. If nothing comes into your head, write one word. Even blindly, if that’s what it takes. Then another, and another after that. Amazingly, that’s often enough to break through whatever blockage is in my head and restore the flow to my writing, at least to some degree.
So much of the time, I’ve found that if I just start writing, even if I feel as dry as a fish in a desert in the moment, somehow the creative juices will begin to flow, and voila!
The block is gone. Evaporated.
Why is that?
I think it’s because the few words I’ve written have triggered that part of my subconscious that flows with creative inspiration. I’ve figuratively unstopped the dam, unclogged the artery, unblocked the flow of energy through my mind.
So what I’m saying here is that maybe your solution to writer’s block lies in changing your mindset instead of desperately trying to “be better” or muster up inspiration from wherever you can.
Inspiration can come in many ways, both internally and externally. It can come and go.
But your creativity is always with you.
You already innately carry every bit of creativity that you need; now all you have to do is find out how to tap into it.
I’m not going to pretend I know exactly how you personally can tap into your sense of creativity, but maybe I don’t have to. Maybe if you change your mindset from “I can’t do this” or “I don’t have what it takes” to “I need to figure out how I”m going to tap into this,” then that could be all you need to trigger your subconscious back into that state of flow.
But I do know that every individual’s journey to overcoming the obstacles and road bumps in their path will be different.
All this is not to say that writer’s don’t face real challenges in their creative work. Sometimes the hindrances to writing are complex and multi-layered, and that’s definitely something to take into account. I’m not trying to criticize anyone who has tried and tried and still comes up empty.
But I hope that maybe this will give you something new to think of, a fresh angle to come at when tackling that stubborn writer’s block.
Let me tell you: the struggle is real. I completely get it; I’ve been there many times.
But the good news is: you CAN beat it. You can smash through that writer’s block like it’s a brick wall and you’re the Hulk.
Your mindset and beliefs are so powerful in effecting positive change in your life, not just in writing. So don’t let an icky lie get you down when the truth is that writer’s block, and its apparent impossibility to overcome, is an illusion.
Stop using “writer’s block” as an excuse for not writing. It’s not OK, it’s not “normal,” it’s not some kind of “rite of passage” for an aspiring writer. Creative hurdles exist, but they are meant to be cleared. If you’re not willing to put in the effort to write through the pain, the disinterest, the exhaustion, then why are you writing? If you don’t want to do the work, then what’s the point?
When you’re feeling stuck, it’s OK to feel frustrated and maybe a little overwhelmed. But the only way to overcome that is to write despite the barriers. If you need to take a short walk, do some dishes, play fetch with your dog for 10 minutes, fine, do that. But get right back to your work after that and do it. Publishing is a competitive field, and if you can’t keep up with its demands — writing often, even when you’d rather not — you’re not going to make it.
Do the work. It’s not always going to be pretty, but something is
always better than nothing.
It may seem impossible, but just go for it.
Defy the lie and do it. Sit down and start writing, whether or not you feel useless or horrible at it.
Because the truth is that you have it in you; you are creative and capable and inspired. You have an unending flow of words and experiences inside you that you are meant to share with the world.
So don’t let the life-sucking excuse of writer’s block suck any more life from you.
Write something. Anything.
I think you’ll be surprised at what you will create.
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