Writer’s block seems to be the most popular thing after “What do I write about?” in the world of writing.
In this article, I will share with you:
• What writer’s block is.
• Four broad causes of writer’s block.
• How you can overcome writer’s block.
• How to help others overcome writer’s block.
My Writer’s Block Story
The longest writer’s block I’ve ever experienced since I started writing lasted for about two months. Within that period, I could not bear to look at my writing tools or writing schedule.
I was so far removed from writing that the very thought of the word itself almost always made me moody and extremely irritated. Eventually, I found out why I had degenerated from an avid writer to one who could not even scribble doodles.
What is Writer’s Block?
It is the inability to start writing something or proceed with something you’re already writing. Some say it is a genuine disorder, others believe it’s a state of the mind. I say, it is your mind’s way of telling you to rest from your creative genius.
I admit it is a painful condition that can be extremely difficult to overcome and here’s why: most people hardly can trace the triggers that lead to them having writer’s block. They just wake up one day and the words refuse to flow.
To help you identify why you may be suffering from writer’s block, I have identified 8 broad causes of writer’s block and how you can overcome them. Take it from someone who has suffered her fair share of writer’s block, these tips will help you exit the writer’s block prison quickly. Ready?
Five Major Causes of Writer’s Block and How to Overcome them
Lack of Clarity
If you’re someone who simply write on the go, you have no clearly identified writing niche, you don’t know who your audience is and you write any and everything, you will suffer from writer’s block often times than not.
This is because you will spend more time than the average writer who has a niche thinking of what to write. If for instance, you wrote about relationships on Monday, lifestyle on Tuesday, Finances on Wednesday, Dogs on Thursday and Fishes on Friday, you will be exhausted by Saturday. By Sunday, writer’s block will set in.
How to remedy lack of clarity? Pick a niche and settle on writing in-depth on that niche topic. If you’re a beginner writer, there are 4 Important things you must know before you embark on your writing journey. These will help you determine your content.
- Your audience (Who you are writing for).
- Your purpose (Why you are writing ).
- Your platform (Where you will showcase your work).
- Your strategy (How you intend to write it).
When you excessively criticize your works, the negative speech will eventually take a toll on your mind and sooner or later, you will begin to agree that you are not good enough.
This in turn will lead to what I call the Imposter Syndrome and ultimately a bad case of writer’s block. Every first draft is a badly written piece. Nobody made it writing once. You have for to remind yourself that as much as you seek perfection, you have got to be happy with the effort you have put in first before you tweak your drafts.
Fear of External Criticism
A critique is one who gave up on his writing journey and makes a living off making sure others quit as well. Your fear of external criticism can make you suffer a serious bout of writer’s block.
Beware of thoughts like:
What will they say?
Will they like my post?
Will someone argue in the comment section?
Did I really communicate well?
What if I just write total nonsense?
You have written what you want to write. Relax! If they criticize you, learn from the ones that are constructive, discard the comments riddled with hate and malice and apply the ones with practical steps on how you can improve your writing.
Lack of External Motivation
If the most important people in your life laugh at your writing, you will have writer’s block. If the most important people in your life don’t support your writing, or even occasionally compliment your writing skills, you will experience writer’s block. Especially if their opinions are what keep you going.
There seems to be this prevailing mentality that writers are broke people who have no future. To overcome lack of external motivation, surround yourself with people who have similar interests in writing, join a writing community that actively engage members in writing activities and try to mentor a few people as well.
Finally, remember that not everyone will support your writing career. Nevertheless, you have a responsibility to make sure whoever you fall in love with is someone who believes in you. A partner who despises your writing will send you spiraling down the staircase of writer’s block.
Lack of Internal Motivation
Nobody will inspire you indefinitely. If you wait everyday for external motivation before you do the things that are necessary, you will never complete writing tasks.
This is why it is important to fall in love with someone who does not look down on your craft. If they laugh at it, you will laugh at yourself and eventually, mentor yourself into believing there are better things you can do with your time.
You must sustain the ability to give yourself your own TED Talk. Stop waiting for someone to inspire you to get to work. I fell asleep writing this article and I’m back again. This is the energy you should have.
Lack of mentors
I see what they have been up to and I follow in their steps. If you lack mentors, you will lack direction and strategy. If you lack direction and strategy, you will be at a loss as to what step to take next. Find mentors, find direction. Cheat writer’s block.
Lack of Writing Goals
When you have no clear goals in the area of writing, you are bound to suffer from writer’s block. Having a goal helps you know what to focus on per time.
My major triggers for writing are songs and pictures. When writer’s block come, I put on my headphones and listen to my good old Hillsong collection.
Other times, I simply head over to pexels.com and download tons of pictures until I see one that inspires me to write.
I also draw inspiration from the conversations I have with people. Every day I wake up knowing that the day holds so many opportunities and inspiration for writing.
How You can Help Someone Suffering from Writer’s Block
If you know someone who is suffering from writer’s block, simply ask them these six questions:
1. What do you write about (clarity)?
2. Who do you write for (audience)?
3. How confident are you about your writing (internal motivation)?
4. What do the most important people in your life think about your writing (eternal motivation)?
5. Are you part of a community of writers?
6. Who are your writing mentors?
Know a writer? Share this article with them.