The bane of every writer’s existence is writers block.
What Is Writer’s Block?
Writer’s block is the frustration or burnout that results in a writer not being able to, you guessed it, write. It halts the productivity, creativity, and general happiness that goes on when a writer is at the top of their game.
Is Writer’s Block A Myth?
There’s an article on The Write Practice called “Writer’s Block” is a Lie – and It’s Ruining Your Writing and it raises some interesting points about writer’s frustrations. To summarise real quick, the author David H. Safford says that writer’s block is the result of writer’s making choices that lead them to getting stuck on their story.
While I disagree with the sentiment that writers block is a myth, I do agree that it is self-inflicted. It is the name we give to the unhappiness we feel with our work, but it’s not the cause of our unhappiness. Frustration leading to a ‘block’ is a very real phenomena, experienced by hundreds of people, creative or otherwise.
No, it’s not a myth, but we do have to stop thinking of it as something that happens to us, rather as something we do to ourselves. We don’t stop writing because we become infected by the writer’s block disease.
Repeat after me. Writer’s block is not making me unhappy with my work, my unhappiness is causing my writers block.
I think this might be the sentiment that David Safford is trying to convey in his article, but personally I think denying that writer’s block is real makes the block worse. You end up sitting there, thinking Ugh, if it doesn’t exist and I’m just doing this to myself, then why am I so bad at this? Maybe I shouldn’t be a writer. Thus, the cycle continues.
So call it writer’s block. Call it… Wall Of Writerly Frustrations, or Steve.
Steve isn’t going away by denying Steve’s existence.
Ways To Beat A Creative Block
Some things we can try are:
- Reading a book.
- Going for a walk.
- Forcing yourself to write through the block
- Changing font
- Take the story in a completely different direction
You can also have a read of 10 Creative Block Breakers That Actually Work by Susan K Perry.
My Best Remedy For Writer’s Block
I’ve tried and tested all of the above and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. No Steve is the same. Each time you run into your wall of writerly frustrations, you’ll need a new tool to get yourself past it.
That said, the best thing I do for myself when struggling with a block is to get off my laptop and write in a notebook.
Eliminate all distractions. No music. No internet. No social media. No messages. Just you and a paper and pen. I did this just last week on a long journey home from France. I wrote four scenes in one sitting.
Give it a shot. Take your notebook and go sit on a park bench for five hours. It did me a world of good.