HOW TO VANQUISH WRITER’S BLOCK
May 21, 2017
Writing is an art, not a science. There is no formula that promises 100 percent results. There is no cure for this ailment—no pill or magic word. I guarantee that even new writers face writer’s block. Whether it’s the timing: There’s not enough of it, you’re on a deadline and you have to have something substantial produced as soon as possible; or perhaps, not enough time has passed and your ideas need to stew a little longer.
You might also be afraid. Fear is one of the major reasons some potential writers never become writers in the first place. Maybe you’re afraid of criticism. Or, maybe, you’re a perfectionist. You need to realize that you’re not going to get anything perfect right away. It just doesn’t work that way.
The following are some of the best ideas I’ve come across to get out of this funk:
1. Stop doing what you’re doing
The first thing you can try is to step away. From your
computer, from your pen and paper—get away from your work station altogether. Leave the room, or even your home. Go outside. Sometimes doing something else jumpstarts creativity.
2. Sleep on it
Relax. Take a nap, or if you can, call it a night.
Stephen King believes that the “dozing of the waking mind shapes our creative capacity by releasing our repressed imagination.” He says, “In both writing and sleeping, we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.”
Try reading before bed. If you dream, try writing your dreams down in the morning, or in the middle of the night. Additionally, try thinking about your writing before you snooze. Maybe you’ll wake up with a solution.
3. Just do it
This solution might make you cringe—sometimes you just got to force yourself. What separates serious and amateur writers is that “both encounter blocks, but one pushes through while the other gets paralyzed.”
Don’t freeze. Just start writing. Anything. Jump into it. The first draft is supposed to suck. Write without rereading backward—that’s what editing is for. Don’t mind the grammar or any mistakes you first make, as long as you’re writing. You need the push. Most importantly don’t fret: you don’t have an audience at this stage. It’s just you.
It’s no wonder that many writers say that the craft is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration. If you wait for inspiration to just befall on you, you might be waiting forever. Chasing that spark is like a bloodhound chasing a rabbit.
If writing was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Elena Chaikin was born in Russia and grew up in Chicago. She has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and is currently working on her master’s in public relations and advertising.