Everyone who has chosen to pen a story of some sort may have, or probably will, come across this demon of a problem that is known as writer’s block. What is writer’s block? Numerous definitions describe writer’s block as the inability to create new work, or even come up with new ideas. Simply put, your imagination seems to have gone on a holiday, leaving you with a boring mind that can no longer find its way to a new world. At least, that is how I would explain it. And from what I’ve read, seen, and heard, this condition can be temporary and can last for a few days, or can be something that grabs hold of you and refuses to let go. Whatever the duration, most authors would agree that writer’s block is nothing short of a nightmare.
So how do you deal with it? And how do you move beyond it to start creating again?
To start off, let me confess that I haven’t faced writer’s block for a prolonged duration. My bouts of writer’s block are short term, last for a few days or so, and are eventually defeated by really simple solutions. But the fact is that these solutions work wonderfully for me, and can yet be completely useless for other authors.
When I am faced with writer’s block, it is generally because I unconsciously feel that my story is getting a little slow or non-gripping, or because I’m a little too consumed by another, different idea that’s pulling me towards itself in spite of my trying really hard to stay focused. The solution, as I discovered after spending altogether too much time trying to find one online, lay with me all along. In the first scenario, all I needed to do was take a critical look at my work and honestly delete everything that seemed to slow it down. Granted, that was a lot of work, and even required some outline changes. But the result was that I was newly motivated, had found a better route for the story line to take, and got back to writing until my hands pained. In the second scenario, I simply backed off from the story I was working on and took half a day, or even an entire day or two, to work on an outline, jot down notes, and even write some scenes for another story. Sure, that story was in a different genre and based in a different time and required a completely different style. But the result was that I had a decent idea for another book, already had some scenes played out, and had cleared my mind such that I was raring to go back to the project/book on hand.
Then there are days when I simply cannot write. My story is fine, I’ve got no other ideas taking up thought, and I’ve got nothing going on that can distract me from my work. But yet, the typing just won’t happen. Those are the days I just sit back, watch a movie, read, play games, and do anything and everything that I feel like. And oddly enough, within hours I’m inspired enough, by something as simple as a cartoon even, to get creating again. All I needed, as it turned out, was some time off.
What I’m trying to say is that writer’s block does not have to be a really complicated problem on which you spend hours and days, scouring the internet for a solution, talking to numerous groups, taking advice from everyone who you can think of, and even doubting your choices and ability. Writer’s block is something that is simply a result of the direction your mind has chosen to take on a particular day. All you need to do is take a step back, look at everything that led up to your block, and then discover the cause of your emotion. Work on sorting out the emotion, and you sort out the problem. What you really need is to simply listen to what your thoughts are telling you. And since it is only your emotion that can be sorted by your doing something, it turns out to be your way of beating writer’s block.
Everyone has bad and good days. But not everyone is the same and not everyone handles days the same way. So if you have a problem, why look towards what others have done in the past? Just look at yourself! Do whatever feels right; and if you follow your instinct, you’ll probably find your way back to creativity. After all, what you need to remain creative is motivation that comes from within you. And who knows what’s best to keep that motivation alive other than you?
That being said, discussing your situation with others who understand can be of help too. I don’t mean that you need to follow everything that someone suggests. But someone’s experience can become the beginning of your solution. You just have to take it to its own end – and that’s where it becomes you.
What keeps you motivated and what keeps your writer’s block at bay? Share your experiences in the comments below and help someone begin their journey back to creativity! It’s happened to me before!