Monday, May 13, 2019

#IWSG - Unlocking Writer's Block

Photo by Juan Marin on Unsplash
Writer's block is real. Too many people have experienced it to say it doesn't exist. However, even though there may be many reasons for it, it can be overcome.

Many writers feel that we can slump or run into slow times, but they don't believe in writer's block. They advise that you stop thinking and let the creative side take over.
Just write, even if it stinks at first.
There's always a rewrite. 

 For some it's actually serious – a massive, soul-sucking obstacle. This could stem from the constant drive to be productive and the thought that if you’re not, there’s something wrong with you. Sometimes you just don’t have anything to say, and that’s fine. 

If you are blocked, have you considered that you may be going the wrong way, your brain is fried, or because you weren't in the mental space to write just then? Learn to think about it not as a block but more of a hurdle. 

If we look at it from yet another perspective - are you saying you didn't have a single possible idea for what might happen next, or are you saying you couldn't think of the idea that was suitable enough for you to put it on paper? Looked at in this way, a block is absence of possibility.
 
On a positive and final note, maybe we need to see writer's block as a sort of siesta... or a catnap... or a snooze. Sounds quite pleasant, doesn't it? It's the mind taking a quick break as it tries to change the subject for a moment. 

So you choose - hurdle, absence of possibility or siesta?

I kind of like the idea of viewing it as a siesta, which leads to a recharge of your mental batteries allowing the ideas to flow freely once again.

30 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You can always bounce ideas off other writers - they might come up with something or cause you to think of something even better.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'll take a little catnap.

Michelle Wallace said...

Alex: yes, that's also an option that is very effective.
Diane: I knew that you'd opt for the catnap.

Gwen Gardner said...

Sometimes I have to put it away for a couple of weeks and look at it again with fresh eyes. Or more likely, I've written something that just doesn't fit and my subconscious is unwilling to change it. But when I do figure it out, it flows much better. And yes, I have to backspace. LOL.

L.G. Keltner said...

Writer's block could definitely be a lack of possibility for me. Or it could even be a lack of confidence. If the answer for what might happen next doesn't immediately come, I feel frustrated. Sometimes I even feel defeated. When thoughts finally do come, I may feel like they're not good enough because of my lack of confidence.

The struggle of writer's block is real, but thinking of it as a siesta puts more of a positive spin on it. That positive spin could be helpful in overcoming it. It's worth a try!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Insecurity is my biggest brain block. Telling myself that I may possibly be lacking in the skills and talents writers need to make it is totally the worst way to be productive.

Nilanjana Bose said...

A block is a chance for a reset. Writing is hard and high-involvement, a siesta is always good :)

nashvillecats2 said...

Although I write poetry I too get "Writer's Block" when life isn't exciting or going your way. Soon picks up whe life gets back to some normality. Good post to read.

Yvonne.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great post, Michelle! I've always been able to figure out the reason when my creativity has slowed ... or bottomed out. Generally it's that I'm going in the wrong direction - where I think I SHOULD be going. Once I listen to my gut, I'm better. Other times, it's life and I have to wait for it to settle down to somewhere near normal. :)

Lynda Dietz said...

I'm all about the siestas! But yes, sometimes it simply takes a mental rest to get things flowing again.

Pat Hatt said...

A little rest sure can be a win. So far never had writer's block.

klahanie said...

Hi Michelle,

I once wrote an article about having writer's block. In fact, writing about writer's block actually made writer's block a subject to write about as I rambled on about having writer's block.

My um, notable absence from writing and the blogging world is mainly due to an overwhelming bout of chronic fatigue. I continue to rest without putting pressure on myself.

Thank you for your post, Michelle.

Gary

cleemckenzie said...

This is great way to think about your non-writing time when writing has been a passion for years. Right now I'm taking advantage of this siesta time and enjoying some R & R. Thanks for the post, Michelle.

Ashlynn R Waterstone said...

Michelle, these are some wonderful words of wisdom. At the moment, I'm having to re-plan my outline so that I get where I want to be when the story ends without tripping over myself along the way. I recently read that if you do an outline piece by piece then you can flesh out the plot holes and pitfalls. I hope that helps prevent writer's block as I work on my book. If I do get it, I'm going to consider it a time for a cat nap and recharge.

Erika Beebe said...

I like Alex’s comment. Having another writer or someone who likes to read to bounce ideas back and forth, can really help push conflict and generate new ways of solving a scene.

Carol Kilgore said...

I like the positive spin you put on writer's block :)

Cathrina Constantine said...

Great Post, Michelle. Gives me a new perspective--- one that I like!!

Mary Aalgaard said...

A siesta, for sure, but I also suffer from that need to be productive and the guilt from not producing. Still, catnaps are rechargers. Maybe something will come to me while I dream.

Great post.

SK Anthony said...

Fantastic points all around, the struggle of the slump is very real indeed. I'm definitely in the hurdle zone . . . though, I really can benefit from a siesta right now lol

Mirka Breen said...

For many great writers, the so-called Writer's Block is a fear of not writing well. The cure is to just write. Anything.Even a grocery list with a flourish would do.
I've only experienced writer's blah, not block. I resort to the same solution, and the trickle becomes a flow.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've never felt blocked, but I have felt like I've written myself into a corner and know I have to figure it out. When I'm having trouble putting words onto the page, I blame it on lack of plotting on my part.

Dihiwi said...

I'm a bit late but I did write something about "genre" on my blog and am looking forward to visiting many of the writers who participate. My link is: https://www.dianeweidenbenner.com/favorite-genre/

Powdered Toast Man said...

Didn't think I would get writer's block when leaving a comment but it just happened.

Michelle Wallace said...

Thank you to all who commented.
I enjoyed the different perspectives.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Michelle,

A wonderful way to think about it. I generally don't have writer's block. I leave the WIP for a time and then jump right back into it. Before I know it the words are flying onto the page.

Itools Mobile Service said...

Nice Article!!Happy to read itiPhone Service Center in Chennai

Tyrean Martinson said...

When it happens (it does happen), it's usually because I'm struggling with insecurity about my writing, or a project just seems to hit a wall. (Forget the block, it's like a cement wall crashing down.)
Usually when this happens, I take a short break - either intentionally or unintentionally - then I journal, then I fiddle with a different project, or start a different project, and then, after I get my confidence back, I go scale the wall and find my back to the original project.

This is why/how I have several projects going side by side. Currently, I'm revising an old project while I take notes on how to scale a wall in another project, and I have a few other ideas/starts waiting in the wings jumping up and down. I'm planning to scale that wall this afternoon, but I'll have to check my safety equipment first.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I frequently experience writer’s block and I like your suggestions of a catnap or siesta. One of my biggest problems is when I’m inundated with ideas late at night which prevents me from falling asleep. Unfortunately, they never look as good in the morning. It’s always nice to see you, Michelle!

Julie

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've heard many famous writers vow that there is no such thing as writer's block. Yet, I think 99% of writers believe in it. I believe there are a lot of possible causes of the inability to write no matter what we call it.

joylene said...

Michelle, catnap. Of course! But a two-year catnap? LOL