“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” –Charles Bukowski
What’s writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author is for some reason unable to produce new work. This is however not as a result of commitment problems or the lack of writing skills. The condition ranges from difficulty in coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce work for days, weeks or even years.
I know what it feels like to be a writer, but when it’s time to write, you just can’t write anything. Most bloggers I know have been affected by writers block at some point in their blogging life. I can tell you for a fact, it’s not a laughing matter.
Writer’s block happens to every writer. You just wake up one day and your creativity leaves through the window and sometimes it never comes back. Ever! So sad !
So, what causes Writer’s block?
Cause 1: FEAR
As a blogger, I often find myself wondering if I’m good enough, if my work is good enough. The fear of not making it as a blogger takes about 90 percent of my thoughts everytime I want to write.
Instead of brainstorming on the topic at hand, I start to think about the end result of the task. What if nobody reads this post? What if they read and don’t like it at all? What about competition? Am I able to keep up?
Everytime I have to begin a new blog post, I get this weird feeling like I’m doing something wrong. Let’s face it, the fear of the unknown as the English people like to call it, has most of us stuck. We are unable to free our minds and keep going.
When you have failed so much at what you thought you’re good at, you eventually realize that Fear really isn’t that after all.
I had to own my own fear and let it motivate me because at the end of the day, you can’t overcome something that you’re afraid of. I keep reminding myself that whatever I’m scared of shall pass. And that I’ll never know what I can do, if I don’t keep pushing myself. And, boom! Writer’s block, I’m coming for you.
Cause 2: Perfectionist syndrome
I’ve always been kind of a perfectionist for as long as I can remember. In fact, perfectionism is a great asset for bloggers as you get to make sure your work is perfect for the readers. It’s a Con when you have to keep revising the same thing over and over hence costing you alot of time and readers as it affects your consistency.
My perfectionism stems from my own harsh self-criticism. I expect too much and too perfect work for myself. Most bloggers I know can’t handle a small mistake on their part. It’s normal. I get that I can easily put off publishing a post just because I feel like I’ve not revised it enough, 500 revisions later.
This perfectionist syndrome can be so frustrating that it pushes you to want to quit blogging altogether. But it gets better.
Perfectionist syndrome solution:
Having been stuck for a long time, I had to have a meeting with all of the little pieces of my personality and get a solution to this problem.
We agreed that we will accept our perfectionism as the asset that it is and embrace it. I therefore like to write my first drafts and skip the editing until later. That way, I always have plenty of content ready to be edited. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect on the first edit. After the first editing, I’ll publish my work and keep editing bit by bits while updating it.
Cause 3: Procrastination
This is everyone’s nightmare. Every blogger has had to Procrastinate at one point or another. Some writers are masters at finding ways to put off writing. And that’s including myself. I could even lecture you for a whole 24hrs with the boring stuff I tell myself before I can convince myself to write a few pages. I even have to perform a ritual to appease my ancestors to let me finish a post I’ve postponed for months. I’m not even kidding about this. Also, this does not get better, ever. You just get smarter at handling it.
Remember how I had to embrace perfectionism, well, pretty much the same thing had to happen. It’s more like a change of heart. Owning your bad behavior sometimes can make you smarter. I had to understand that procrastination was impossible to beat. I find that when I do get back to my post after procrastinating, I find new solutions, new content, designs, everything. I’m often surprised at what I’m then able to produce. Perfect work.
How then do you overcome Writer’s Block?
- By creating a writing routine. Many writers do take pride in having a daily routine that they stick to religiously. Even though writing directly comes down to creativity, you need utmost discipline to be able to create quality work. Therefore, you will need to create a routine, maybe an editorial calendar or use the regular calendar like I do. I save all my tasks into the corresponding dates and set the alarms a few minutes earlier.
- Declutter your room or work station. By cleaning up your work area, you will be motivated to get work done. This has been proven to work for a number of people including yours truly.
- Exercise. Exercising keeps your blood flowing. Running and walking helps. Blood flowing will keep your brain active and that’s the much you need to fight writer’s block.
- Avoid internet distractions. I like to use writer app when I’m blogging from my phone to avoid the constant distractions from messages pop-ups. It gives me a chance to enjoy a distraction-free work environment.
- Read something interesting. Grab a book or read some inspiring quotes online. They’ll take the pressure off you so you can concentrate on your writing.
- Change your work tools. If you’re so used to writing on an app on your phone, or down at Microsoft Word in your laptop, you have to change your game. Try and grab a paper and a pen and see how you get things flowing. Some new motivation here that comes with the traditional style of writing that is paper and pen.
- Be consistent with your work. Try and try even harder. No matter how tough things get, they will always get better and you’ll get better at it. Keep writing. Don’t you dare give up on your dreams because you got stuck once. Nope! Collect yourself, your ideas and your writing tools and be on your way, again.
How did you overcome Writer’s block?