How to overcome writers block is often discussed on the web, podcasts and in books. But is it real. Is it a confirmed mental condition or is it an excuse for something else?
Do you find yourself staring at a blank sheet of paper or an empty screen?
Do the words and creativity often evaporate?
Here are my thoughts on writer’s block and how to overcome it
I compare writing with any sport where you need to prepare to be able to compete. An athlete needs to train every day to reach their peak performance and produce winning results. Throwing myself in front of the Mac every morning without a preparation or a plan just wouldn’t work for me. I need a bit of law and order to get me going.
The exception is planning a book where I am searching my mind for the basic outline of a story. But, for the meat and potatoes of the chapters I have to have at least an outline in place. Once I have a rough idea my creative imagination propels me into each scene and conversation and the fingers type as I think. It always works for me that way.
I do agree that sometimes, when feeling under the weather, tired or my mind is not entirely focussed on writing, the quality and quantity suffers. However, I never find an absolute brick wall where I can think of nothing.
When I get occasional bouts of poor focus I either put the laptop away or do one of the following:
- Revert back to good old pen and paper
- Dictate the story
- Do some research which always sparks ideas
- Re-read the story so far
- Relocate to another room or maybe go outdoors (weather permitting) or a cafe – just changing the workplace often fires me up.
If all else fails to get the right level of quality I don’t try to force it. I usually get into this state of mind when there is another more urgent task to be done and sometimes it is worth getting that other task done and out of the way to take the distraction out of your head.
I really don’t think that giving the scenario of not being able to think of a single thing to write the label ‘Writers Block’ is helpful as it seems to give an acceptable tag not to do anything. Perhaps I am just lucky and it doesn’t happen to me!
Another problem in making progress with your writing can be procrastination – here’s how I have conquered it!