Whether I’m talking to school students in their “Creative Writing” class or receiving letters from young and older writers, one of the top questions I get is:
“What do you do to get over writer’s block?”
First let me admit that I get writer’s block. A lot. An awful lot. Probably too much to admit, but since I’m all about being authentic – there ya have it.
I get writer’s block.
But the more I get asked the question about how I fix it, the more I feel the need to ask myself why I get it in the first place.
What I have discovered is that for me, it’s all about my self-confidence or lack there of.
I’ll hit a spot in the story that gets a little more difficult to write and I somehow convince myself that I don’t have what it takes to write at all. Or, I read through what I’ve written and tell myself that I’m wasting my time. Or I compare my success (or lack there of) to other writers and start to feel like I shouldn’t be in the game at all… blah, blah, blah.
Whatever the thought, it’s all rubbish.
It clogs my creativity.
This isn’t just with writing, it’s a block I get in a lot of areas in my life. I’m one of those that continually has to fight that battle that rages in the mind. I’ve read all the books about negatives thoughts and lies we believe about ourselves, but it is still my number one area of weakness. So, when I find myself “blocked” or more appropriately “locked up”, I shut it down. By “it” I mean whatever area it is in my life (writing, spiritual, relationships, etc) that I’m struggling in.
Basically, I quit. Even if momentarily. And then I have to give myself a pep talk, tell myself not to be a quitter and to give it another try. Usually it works, butoccasionally my season of quitting can last a while.
I don’t know if it’s the thorn in my side that will always be there, or if I’ll eventually find a way to overcome it, but for now it’s something that I have to concentrate on daily.
It takes a lot of effort and intention to keep my thoughts in check and not start believing the lies, but I’m getting better at it.
Help is on the way!
I have also come up with a few techniques that help get the flow going again, once I’ve somewhat dealt with my confidence issues.
Write my ideas/scenes on index cards and then toss them in the air.
I know that sounds crazy, but for me, sometimes I have set my mind to the way I think things should go. There’s something about picking those ideas back up in random order that can make me see things differently. It forces me out of my box, out of my mindset and it often works wonders.
Get off the computer and write by hand.
Waking up a different part of the brain seems to work very well for me. Something about seeing the words as they appear on the paper. Handwriting often feels more creative. More personal.
Change of scenery.
I pick up all my stuff, shove it in a bag and head to a coffee shop or cafe. I may see something that gives me an idea. And often, while I’m eavesdropping on other people’s conversations, I hear a nugget that sends my mind racing with idea. I never know what might happen when I leave my cocoon.
Write from another character’s point of view.
Again, this forces me out of my box. It helps me to see my story differently. You never know what trail you might find to follow when you get in another head space.
Those are my ways of dealing with Writer’s Block. How about you? Do you have a particular area of your life or writing space where you tend to get a “blockage”? How did you identify it and how do you fix it? (comment section at the bottom of this page)