Writer’s block – it’s like saying “Macbeth” behind the scenes of a play – the worst thing that could happen to you as a writer; but, does it really exist and, if so, how do you overcome it?
Writer’s block is usually identified as the inability to think of anything to write about as if being stuck in a writing rut, and it does exist, but mostly in our minds.
There’s a quote by the author Jacqueline Woodson that truly puts into perspective what the term is:
It’s merely the fear of writing itself, the fear that you will be judged as inadequate and the fear of putting yourself out there because you may not be good enough.
Let’s look at how how you can overcome writer’s block.
1. Write as Soon as the Mood Strikes You
My best time to write is at night, after my daughter has gone to bed and the house is completely quiet.
In the past, I’ve tried to make myself go to sleep during these hours, thinking that normal people are resting right now so that they are able to get up in the morning and start their day. Thus, I would store all these ideas in my head or in the notes part of my phone, thinking that I could remember them the next day and knock out a killer blog.
Guess what? I could only remember bits and pieces of my writing ideas and those bits and pieces were not flowing out of my head and onto the keyboard like they were the previous night.
This would happen night after night, day after day: mind full of words at dark and a complete blank at daylight. What I learned was that when the mood struck and the content was coming at me full throttle, was the time to sit and write.
It didn’t matter that it was almost midnight and normal people were asleep. I wasn’t a normal person anymore, I was a freelance writer and had to take advantage of an opportunity whenever it came along.
So, take that opportunity as it arrives and write when you’re on fire and the words are pouring out of you, that’s when you’ll do your best work.
2. Look at/Read Motivational Literature/Pictures
My writing juices start flowing when I’m reading old literature or when I look at pictures of secluded landscapes or beaches. That’s just me and that’s what does it for me.
I can not have a thing on my mind about which to write, but as soon as I pick up a Bronte novel or look at a path of trees after a rainstorm, I am full of stories.
What gets your mind racing? What whets your whistle when you look at a book or pictures and makes you all giddy on the inside and ready to write?
Decide what it is and then seek it when you are all out of concepts to write about. It’s sort of like meditating – awakening your brain and getting it interested in something.
3. Don’t Care what Others Think
That notion used to be my biggest problem.
What did people think of what I said? Of what I did? Of how I dressed on a particular day?
But, when you’re in the freelancing world and your next payday depends on what you write, suddenly what others think doesn’t seem to matter anymore. There are millions of people out there, so what you have to write about will be liked by someone, but not everyone. And, that someone is all that matters.
You’re sure to make a difference to somebody out there with your writing, and one person is much better than no one at all.
Somebody out there will read what you wrote and it will speak to them and strike a chord with them; so, write and do not be ashamed.
Writing is what you signed up to do by choosing freelancing, so do it and be proud of what you put out there.
4. Just Write
Finally, when all else fails, just write.
Try writing three sentences on any topic. Those three sentences will lead to more and, as your brain activates and engages, more and more will come.
Even Ernest Hemingway once said,
The first draft of anything is sh*t
So, write down the first things that come to mind because you can always go back and edit or delete them. And, before you know it, you’ll have several paragraphs when you didn’t think you could write even one.
Does writer’s block exist? Maybe or maybe not, but one thing is for sure: you can overcome it.
Decide that writing is what you want to do and do it, without any fear of persecution or judgement. Take advantage of the times you have your best ideas and write them, straight from the heart, or consult the things that motivate you and just go for the gusto!