Here you are again. Just when things were going so well after a great writing session, you find yourself hesitant to even start typing again, so soon afterward. You curl into a ball in the corner and like a shell of a person, you sing to yourself: “hello, darkness, my old friend…”
You progress through the seven stages of grief at a breakneck speed, eventually realizing there’s probably something around the house you need to do, so you do the only logical thing: close all the blinds and retreat to your bed. Maybe tomorrow after about 16 hours of sleep you’ll try again.
You blink rapidly, realizing all of that was just a stress-induced hallucination or something. You’re still at your computer; you’re given a second chance. But you can’t see your screen, with a gigantic block in the way. How are you supposed to write with something so huge blocking your view?
Identifying Writer’s Block
Call it what it is: a fear of commitment. That’s what writer’s block really is. Maybe all those people you dated back in high school and college and the lonely years that followed were right all along?
We know we have to get this next bit of writing out, but we don’t want to screw it up. We fret and we sweat and we overthink it until we start questioning why we’re even writing it in the first place. But we know we need to write. Either we have a commitment or deadline, or we simply owe it to ourselves to do so, but the writing must get done. So when we sit down and try to think about what we want to say, and suddenly it’s like nothing we have to write is any good at all, and our words are already destined for the recycling bin before they even get a chance to say something.
It’s because you’re worried that you won’t be able to say what you mean to say. It’s because you’re afraid of your writing, which is a very personal thing, being reviewed poorly. It’s because you doubt yourself. It’s all of these things and more, and it’s all manufactured by our own mind. When you get the time to write, there’s nobody standing in your way but your own fear of commitment.
It’s the same as any relationship, and it takes a whole lot of getting over yourself in order to be successful.
Getting Over It
Want the real secret to overcoming writer’s block? Just write.
That’s it. End of article. Problem solved.
Seriously, though. We could talk all day about little things you could do to give you ideas, like going for a walk, reading similar things from different writers, standing on your head, etc., but all of that falls in the category of “helpful but not problem solving.”
You just have to start typing. It’s by far the hardest thing to do, but you just have to get outside of your own head for just one moment and let your fingers do the talking, even with the understanding that you will probably figure out halfway through the writing what you really want to say.
You will go back afterward and re-write later, but somewhere in the middle of what you’re writing you’ll hit a stroke of genius. At that point, you can fix what’s not working well, and tune it up to the level of quality you expect from yourself.
It’s so much easier to re-write than it is to start writing. So, listen to the sound advice of Sean Connery in this clip when you’ve reached writer’s block:
Before you say anything, yes, I’m aware that this post fits perfectly in the “Wow, thanks, I’m cured” subreddit. But it really is as simple as that.