I love writing but I’m hit by writers block fairly often. Part of it is spending all of my working day sat at a computer. By the end of the day, the thought of more screen time is too much to handle. Not only do I sit on a computer for my day job, but I am also working on a novel and writing for freelance clients as well as working on this blog. It’s easy to see how screen fatigue hits hard.
But writers block is not just about being saturated by screens. It can also be about a fear of failure (or success). It can be a way of procrastinating. All the best writers, from Stephen King to J.K Rowling have grappled with writer’s block. What’s important is that you find a way through or around the barricade…
Some of my friends are avid writers too and we’ve had talks about how to write when you are too busy or blocked. This post is for the bloggers and writers out there.
Figure out your triggers
As noted above, I’m quite aware of what triggers my writing block. I often feel too busy and writing can feel like another job (as much as I love it.) Your triggers may be time constraints, too much technology, stress, over-thinking, perfectionism or any other number of irritants! Knowing your triggers is half the battle. It may be that you can carve out space for writing or set aside a specific time when you are more prepared to put pen to paper.
Do it anyway
Do you feel like showering every day? Or putting on that suit? What about going to work? There are a lot of things that we don’t always feel like doing but we usually do them. Sometimes I think we all have so much on our plates that the things we love are put aside. Writing, if you take it seriously, should be part of the day, just like showering and going to work. Once it becomes part of your routine, you’ll notice that some days it’s a pleasure and other days a pain but it’s still part of your day.
Push through the pain
Sometimes you have to write when you really don’t want to. If you only write when you’re in the mood, you’ll rarely write anything. Powerful moments of inspiration seem to come to me rarely. Most of the time, I really have to push myself to sit and write but once I do, I find it a pleasure. It’s easy to write if there’s a tight deadline or the promise of money but writing for yourself has no real constraints and as such, it’s easy to become wishy-washy with it. I think it can be like going to the gym or planning a holiday. Most people don’t find these things too fun and we’d rather put them off or get someone else to do them for us but you can begin to enjoy yourself if you just start. It is the anticipation that makes everything so much worse than it is.
Think, don’t write
Sometimes writers block is so maddening that it’s pointless to even try. In these instances, it’s better to think about your blog/book/article/essay and perhaps prepare a plan. You don’t need to write a word. Just mull it all over. You are technically still working just not writing. Sometimes things come to me in dreams or just throughout the day as I let my mind wander.
Sometimes when I’m truly stuck, I read. Other writers inspire me; their style, tone, dialogue. Reading what others write can get me back on track. Some writers seem to make writing feel easy. When you read their work, there’s a smooth, effortless quality. It’s as if this transcends the page and imbues me with magic. You learn a lot from reading and subconsciously take in far more than you realise. It’s refreshing to know that there are so many books, bloggers and styles and that all are successful in their own way. You just have to find, and keep, your own voice.
Don’t let life drown your passion
It can be hard to keep passion alive in a world of deadlines and routines. It’s so easy to be full of wonder as a child and so hard to keep in adulthood. If writing is your passion, don’t let life drown it out. Refuse to let it. It won’t always be easy but you’ll be glad you kept going.
All my love