Our topic for today’s episode of PMD is
The writer’s block— a dismal struggle?
Let me even ask you, do you the writer’s block is real or it basically an excuse for literary laziness?
So statistically, most people think it’s literary laziness.
If you ask me …
Writer’s block is real if you believe in it.
It’s kind of like looking at the night sky for UFOs. Stare long enough into the darkness, and you’ll convince yourself you see UFOs.
If, however, you’re a professional, you’ll recognize writer’s block is simply an indication that you need to change your approach to writing.
It’s up to you to push past your mental blocks. You must hunt down ideas and, whether or not you feel your creative juices flowing, capture and use them.
When you tell yourself you’ve writer’s block, you’re exacerbating the problem.
You’re stealing any chance of creativity or motivation you had left. You’ve allowed your mind to accept you don’t have what it takes to write.
Go on like this, and you could struggle with writer’s block for years.
Is Writer’s Block Real?
The feeling of being out of steam and robbed of creativity is not exactly a myth. Many new writers sometimes feel like they’ve nothing to say or aren’t good enough. Almost no other profession has a term that excuses people from their most important work.
What would you do if a doctor said he can’t operate on your knee because he’s “not feeling it today”?
One of Philip Pullman words, that I sincerely admire, he said;
“All writing is difficult. The most you can hope for is a day when it goes reasonably easily. Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block, and doctors don’t get doctor’s block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expect sympathy for it?”
Ponder on that.
So, while various famous writers have described it as a momentary or short-lived lapse in creativity and motivation, others have used it to express periods of anguish or their inability to write.
Re-read this again. And you will technically discover whether the writer’s block is reallyor isn’t really a dismal struggle.
About 9 years ago when I started writing, there were times that I just got stuck, with no idea of what to write or post about.
I would stare dumbly at my computer screen or notepad for minutes, thinking and cracking my head about what to pin down, sometimes, I would just give up the idea of writing anything during those moments and wait for the next moment of inspiration to come, before writing again. And so, that was the process I was used to for a while until things turned around for the better (or kind of did).
Because now, a couple of years later, all that has changed. I now have a never-ending stream of writing ideas. Meaning that I have never again found myself in that zone called ‘writer’s block’. (At least not recently).
I know so because, I have written well over 60 articles in the last seven days, the forties of poetry and couple of chapters to my book with some of it published in some publications, And I still have a well of ideas to write about. And I would show you how to also have that sea of ideas flowing in your closet. But then, let’s start from first principles.
There is this preconception out there that in order for you to have writing ideas, you must create those ‘quiet moments’, where you sort of meditating and wait for the ideas to come through.
Not so with me. I do not create those ‘solemn moments’ and wait for writing inspiration. Rather, I just pay very close attention to my environment, and that is where all of my writing ideas come from.
So, how do you prevent writer’s block and also ensure you never run out of ideas for writing?
#. Whenever possible, you should try and read everything you are able to find, but do not attempt to write about everything.
Meaning that as much as possible, try to read every form of writing so that you learn from other writers. And while doing that, you can decide to write on similar topics, but approach them from a different perspective.
#. Write What You Know
Write down the facts and everything else you know about the topic, the theme you’re finding challenging or having a problem with. Use a mind map, index cards or bullet points. Your job is to excavate what’s in your mind about the topic at hand.
Writing down the facts will give you an idea of what you need to research and help you identify topics to include.
#. Use a Writing Prompt
“I remember the first time I …,” “I remember the last time I …,” “I can see …,” “I hate writer’s block because ….”
Writing prompts force you to create words and get into the meat of your piece.
You can even choose a writing prompt that lies outside of your topic, merely to get your creative juices flowing again.
For example, say you are writing a book on personal finance. Instead of choosing a writing prompt like, “When I first entered the world of dimes and dollars …,” you can choose a prompt like, “The first time I stepped into the arena …”.
By doing so, you’re taking your mind off the topic at hand and getting into the flow of writing.
#. Learn to write from song lines, news headlines or even banners.
I do this all the time. A line from a song may just inspire me, and I soon turn it into an 800–1000 word (or more) article. Also, news headlines, road signs or banners are also great inspiration outlets. Once you understand your niche, just find a way to turn those to fit into your area of interest.
Have a note or something handy that you can quickly jot down ideas when they do come. Sometimes, ideas come in a flash and if you do not put them down immediately when they pop up, the tendency that you would forget them, and that they are gone forever is high. For me, I sometimes also put the ideas down in my notepad on my phone. That way, I never forget them, but just go back to them and develop them when I have the time.
#. Free Write
Freewriting is the act of writing for a set period without regard to reason, logic, grammar or spelling.
This method will help you overcome perfectionism and unlock inner creative resources you didn’t know you possess.
You can free write about whatever you want.
A story about the mermaid in the sea.
A biography of your favourite Hollywood actor.
Or even your current writing project.
You don’t have to use what you free write about in your final piece.
Rather than writing polished prose, or poetry, free writing offers a chance to write down anything you want, including your secret opinions and thoughts.
It will help you open your creative well and get words onto the page.
#. Take a Break
If you’ve worked hard on a painful chapter or article, perhaps you just need a break. Tiredness isn’t conducive to creativity. What’s more, feeling frustrated will hamper your productivity.
Commit to returning to your work at a specific time, when you’ve eaten, slept or recharged. Start again with a positive mind. Convince yourself beforehand that this writing session will be fantastic.
“Remember, a moment of inspiration could even strike while you’re away from the blank page.”
#. Run, Swim, Walk, Exercise!
“It’s pertinent you know Thinking behaviour and emotion control, planning and creativity are all functions regulated by the frontal lobe of your brain. These functions are activated and can be strengthened when you do exercises like ballet, tae kwon do, ping pong and Zumba—exercises that use the frontal lobe.”
Please, I’m not saying you should start a tae kwon do fight with anyone or challenge a neighbour into a duel. Nah
I’m just saying, exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which can heighten your alertness and energy.
After a good workout session, you will get the creative juices flowing faster.
#. Listen to Music (sometimes preferably without lyrics)
Music is scientifically proven to encourage the creative process and expressive thinking.
I keep SIA’s playlist or any ambient music that enables me to enter a state of creative flow faster. I listen to this playlist early in the morning while wearing noise-cancelling headphones.
Personally, I’d recommend Sia, her music has healed me in a place neither my hand nor the surgeon’s blade could reach. It could help you too.
If you have a problem focusing while music is playing, you can always try listening to binaural beats. This is a special type of music best experienced while wearing headphones.
It stimulates brain waves and can help you work, focus, study and write.
Tools for Beating Writer’s Block
By now, you should understand that writer’s block is cured once you treat the craft as a profession, there are many ways to Beat off and I’ve apparently mentioned some basic ways to break from the hex fogginess. (If really it’s a hex, lol)
Out of ideas? Read what inspires you.
Struggling with your nonfiction? Interview an expert.
Feeling tired? Exercise or sleep.
Can’t focus? Meditate.
Out of practice? Free write or journal.
Writer’s block is a funny thing.
Some days, the fear of writing is more difficult to overcome than sitting down and actually writing.
In wrapping this up, writer’s block is not a fun zone to be stuck in. It can erode your confidence and even your interest in writing.
Personally, one of the key things that have allowed me access to an unending stream of writing ideas is the ability to identify my areas of interests and focusing my writing on those areas.
You can always write about something, throwing different shades at it, from different perspectives.
So, when next you think you may be stuck in that ‘not-so-fun’ zone called ‘writer’s block’, take the time to evaluate what you really love to write about. And you may begin to see different perspectives to write on a particular topic, that would turn a single word prompt to a 4-page document.
Thank you for following, I hope you can beat this damnation off with these.