Writer’s block is nothing but a big shadow, the real giant that needs to fall is writing nothing at all. As I take you on this refreshing adventure, you need to understand that in creative writing, a broken pen is better than a buried pen.
So, what is writer’s block,
Some folks call it creative constipation while some sees it as a state of ‘psychological slowdown’. it can be a very frustrating experience so there’s no need to dignify it with a definition.
The common causes of writer’s block and its cure will make more sense if we can first identify the different categories of writers.
I think there are three categories of writers, where you belong will determine the degree of writer’s block you will experience. Below are the categories of writers I know:
Emotional writers: these are those who write mostly when they ‘feel’ like writing. They need to be moved by certain emotions such as love, fear, heartbreak, victory, frustration or any other random muse. This category of writers may suffer constant writer’s block because they feel blank whenever the emotions that trigger them to write are absent.
Occasional Writers: this category of writers are those who only write whenever they feel ‘inspired’ to write or any time they get roused either by responsibility or reward. Occasional writers also suffer writer’s block often because they will have to wait for a push before they put ‘pen to paper’.
Intentional writers: I choose to tag great great writers ‘intentional writers’ and not professional writers. These folks consistently crave a high level of expertise, experience and exposure, hence they really don’t need to be prompted to write. They look for every opportunity to write. Becoming an intentional writers require a whole lot of craving, commitment and consistency. These category hardly experience writer’s block because they look out for inspiration in every situation.
Causes of writer’s block are not the same for all writers. Its different strokes for different folks. However, some common causes of writer’s block may include:
- Past criticism: due to previous negative feedbacks or poor acceptance of your work, you may feel unworthy to write. This happens mostly to budding writers.
- Pressures of life: sometimes writers get preoccupied with issues that are basically non-creative and uninspiring, hence they lose connection with their muse.
- Pessimism: some writers have fear of rejection, they ask questions like “what if no one likes this piece?” “does this really make sense?” “this piece may not be trendy” and so on. It is important to note that creativity crashes under the weight of many confusing question.
- Poor timing: different seasons of life comes with different spices. It is important to know when you need to relax, recharge and refill. The fact that you cannot write at a particular time may be a call for reflection
- Perfectionism: The more you push delete buttons or pile up uncompleted drafts in the the name of waiting for the right/perfect ideas, the more it’s likely you slide into psychological slowdown.
Irrespective of the cause of your creative constipation, some simple steps to overcoming writer’s block include:
See writing as a means of self expression and not just a means of creating beautiful impression: writing is about letting loose the prisoners in your head and heart, it doesn’t have to ‘please’ the readers at all times. Nonsense is better than no sense when it comes to writing.
Take a creative tour: read a book, listen to music, see movies and look out for phrases or words that can strike a cord in your soul. You may also take a short walk in serene places.
Connect with your creative characters: if you have been writing for a while, you should know the factors that easily fuel your fire to write, for me, it’s short quotes and phrases. All I need sometimes is just a beautiful alliteration and a whole article is set with the help of God. If you don’t know your character(s) yet, study yourself and create one.
Trash distractions: avoid uninspiring activities, associates and addictions (if any).
Relax, refresh, recharge and research: take a break from writing just to break forth into writing. Don’t always set out to write, set out to get inspired and writing will flow naturally.
Create a writing routine: you may try Yourquote app, it’s a very good application that can help you with this. There are daily challenges and prompts given on the platform that can help you beat writer’s block.
Switch or spice up your environment: your social and physical environment plays a pivotal role in your creative cruise. So create the right physical and social environment.
The steps to overcoming writer’s block are inexhaustible. However, I hope you find the above tips useful.
© Adeleke Adeite 2019