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Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist!
By Melinda Copp
Ever sit in front of a blank word processing document, cursor blinking on the screen, mind searching for what to do next? If so, you’re not alone. Every writer struggles with where to start, how to keep motivated, and where to go next with their work. These challenges are collectively known as “writer’s block” – the plight of every aspiring scribe.
So writer’s block seems to be a valid lack of inspiration or motivation, similar to what every creative person deals with at one time or another. And the idea of writer’s block conjures images of tortured artists struggling to find the right words. You want to write, but you can’t – that sounds like writer’s block. Here’s the thing: aspiring writers chalk up their difficulties to writer’s block as if that’s an appropriate excuse for not doing their work. But it’s not. They let this thing called writer’s block prevent them from their goals and aspirations of publication for days, weeks, months, or even years. But they don’t have to.
The line between amateur wannabe and serious professional has been drawn. Serious, professional writers learn early on that throwing around excuses in lieu of completing their assignments, stories, or whatever writing project they’re working on puts them in the fast lane bound for failure. No matter how romantic the idea of writer’s block actually seems, it only means slacker as far as editors are concerned. (Please note that this isn’t to say that some writers have never experienced conditions and disorders that impeded their work, such as clinical depression, illness, or alcoholism. But challenges like these will stop anyone, regardless of their profession or craft, so they don’t count as writer’s block either.)
Now, if you’re an aspiring writer and you’re saying to yourself, “I have writer’s block,” understand that giving your lack of motivation a label – and using the word “writer” in it – you’re making your obstacle stronger. If you eradicate the phrase “writer’s block” from your vocabulary right now, and replace it with something less literary, like “lack of ideas,” “inability to write,” or “lack of professionalism,” then the whole thing sounds much less glamorous, right? You can still be a writer with “writer’s block,” but you’re not much of a writer with the “inability to write.”
In other words, snap out of it! You don’t have to let this thing everyone likes to call writer’s block get in your way – now, or later in your writing career. Because if you let it get to you, you will fail at your writing goals. So how can you beat your lack of inspiration? Consider the following strategies.
1. Brainstorm New Ideas
If you’re stuck, the best way to get unstuck is to brainstorm. When writers lose steam and get stuck on a project, they might decide to abandon whatever they’re working on. They begin to question their abilities, the validity of their message, and the worth of their project. These tendencies only make the situation worse. But you may find some relief in revisiting your original intentions – the goals you had when your project idea first came to mind.
Forget writing for right now, and really give your project some thought. Revisit your goals, your preliminary notes, and your original intentions. Have you strayed from your original project path? If so, why? Has your project changed or evolved? If so, what are you missing? What new ideas have you hit on? How can you flesh them out? Let go of your inhibitions, and let your ideas flow. You may be able to locate your creative hang-ups right away, or it may take some work. But as long as you stick with it, you’ll be able to overcome your challenges.
2. Take a Walk
When the last place you want to be is in front of your desk, you may need a change of scenery. Taking a walk can benefit writers twofold. First, writing is exercise – it gets your blood pumping (hopefully to your brain) and gets you moving. It gives you physical and mental space from your project. Plus, walking uses a completely different part of your brain than writing, so you can give your creativity a rest, get outside, and reconnect with your world and your surroundings, where ideas and inspiration abound.
Second, the motion of walking is very rhythmic, which lends itself to meditation and allows you to let your anxieties go and clear your mind. As you walk, forget about your writing and focus on the feel of the ground beneath your feet. Listen to your footfalls, feel your arms moving at your sides, smell the air, and empty your mind of all writing-related thoughts. Keep this up for as long as you can, thirty minutes to an hour would be ideal, and when you return to your desk you will feel rejuvenated. Just make sure you do return to your desk.
3. Ask for Help
Writing is a solitary endeavor, but that doesn’t mean that progress happens in a vacuum. If you’re stuck on something, why not ask for help? Talk to your editor, mentor, or writing coach about the challenges you’re facing. If you’re a member of a writer’s group, bounce a few ideas off someone you trust. If you aren’t in a writer’s group, find one to join, or start one of your own – all you really need is a few like-minds.
You can even enlist the help of a non-writer friend or spouse. Talk to them about your concerns, and ask for support. The act of sharing your problems, in itself, may relieve some of your hang-ups. You may see that the answer to your writing problem was right in front of you the whole time.
The End of Writer’s Block Forever
If you’re serious about writing, you have to forget about writer’s block. Because as soon as you start naming your lack of inspiration with writing-related terms, you give it more power over your success. Essentially, writer’s block is nothing more than an excuse for not being able to do what writer’s do – write. Serious writers know how to manage their mental hang-ups, and keep writing despite them. The blinking cursor on the blank screen is a fact that every writer must face. How you handle it will ultimately make or break you. When you leave writer’s block behind for good, you will see your writing, your creativity, and your confidence soar.
About the Author:
Melinda Copp is an editor and ghostwriter based in South Carolina. She works with her clients to create written copy that reflects their personality and professionalism. For more information about Melinda and her services, visit her online at www.MelindaWrites.com. If you have any questions about how Melinda can help you, send her an email at email@example.com.
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