Over and over again I hear writers complain about having writer’s block. In fact, the other day I actually overheard a lady on my morning commute bus telling the person next to her that she believes writer’s block is an illness of the mind and some people aren’t meant to overcome it.
Uh, yea… OK. I think it’s time to set the record straight.
There’s no such thing as writer’s block.
Wait… let me say that again: There’s no such thing as writer’s block!
There’s writing and then there’s the excuses you make for not writing.
Writer’s Block Isn’t Real
I Googled “Writer’s Block” and the following definition popped up from Wikipedia:
Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite.
Note the last sentence of the definition: “It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when it fact it could be the opposite.”
What that means is–having writer’s block is all in your mind. Writer’s block isn’t real. It’s just a manifestation of your inner thoughts.
It’s a lack of confidence and a lack of belief in yourself. It’s a manifestation of your fears.
Don’t make it out to be something it’s not.
You Choose Not to Overcome “Writer’s Block”
Since writer’s block doesn’t really exist, using it as an excuse not to write is your choice and your choice alone. You are choosing to let the non-existent writer’s block hold you back.
You could easily choose the opposite and instead focus on finding writing inspiration.
But many writers make the choice not to. Many writers choose to let the idea of writer’s block keep them from putting words on the page. Because that’s easier than writing.
And it is.
Writing is a scary thing. Writing is putting yourself and your words and your ideas out there. It’s allowing people to place judgement on your work.
Some writers just can’t handle it. So they claim “writer’s block” and hide.
There Are Plenty of Ways to Overcome It
Some writers choose to find ways to push through to the other side when they feel blocked. Some writers choose not to make excuses and instead take responsibility for themselves and for their writing lives.
And some writers don’t.
If you’re a writer who wants to keep pushing forward and never look back, here are some great tools to help you overcome that lack of confidence known as writer’s block:
- Morning Pages–I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Morning Pages are the best tool out there to recover your creativity and “unblock” your mind. You’ll be amazed at how well they work and at how fast.
- Writing Exercises–Sometimes a writer just needs a jump-start to get writing. Writing exercises can be that jump-start.
- 10 Minutes of Gibberish–Or if you prefer, instead of writing exercises, you could try the 10 Minutes of Gibberish method where you write nonsense (or whatever you feel like writing) for 10 minutes prior to starting your writing session. Instant writing flow.
- Take A Break–If nothing else seems to be working for you (and I can’t believe that nothing would work, that’s just an excuse), take a break. Go for a walk around the block. Read a book for 30 minutes. Play a video game. Do something else to refresh your mind. Then get back to writing.
Now that you know writer’s block isn’t real, tell us–how are you going to get your creativity back?
About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is the founder of Procrastinating Writers. She is co-founder of the Better Writing Habits Challenge. For more great writing tips, tools and advice, be sure to follow her on Twitter or Facebook.