Ughhhh… There is nothing more dreadful to a writer than writer’s block. Especially for new writers or content creators, the ideas seem to be in abundance at first. No idea is too far-fetched; no subject is off limits. Not only do the ideas flow, but the practice flows as well. Your poems flow like Dominican rivers, your essays are composed with depth, and your stories take on a life of its own, much to your delight and excitement. You put a few of your writings out there, whether publicly or within your circle of friends/colleagues, and you receive high praise. You feel great. You are great.
Then you’re asked, or at the least you feel expected, to reproduce what you’ve done. What next? Oh I’ll show you what’s next! you exclaim from the depths of your heart, but when you sit down to write, you instead feel the damning artistic paralysis: Writer’s Block. Time is running out — whether it is an official deadline or one you imposed on yourself — yet your creative juices are slowly drying up. And this can be applied to any other artist, whether your craft is videography/photography, creating content, painting, personal training, etc. With any craft, I’ve noticed that eventually you may reach a plateau. While it may be alarming, it is not necessarily a bad thing. Plateaus, in my opinion, signify two things:
a) You have accomplished a goal
b) It is time to accomplish something new, in a new way.
I think where a lot of artists fall off is honestly where a lot of other things seem to fall off: at the point where adaptation becomes essential. For some time now, I have been struggling with Writer’s Block myself. I desperately want to put my thoughts on paper (or computer, ha), yet when I do, it doesn’t flow the way I desire. It doesn’t communicate the essence of me — my thoughts, my emotions, my connection with the subject matter. Have you been there? Are you there now?
Lucky for you and me, we’re in this together! If you want to get out of that slump, here are three (3) things you can try to change/adapt to open up opportunities to create. (I talk about writing but I think you can apply this contextually to any craft).
The biggest thing that governs your craft is your perspective associated with it. How do you approach your writing? What does writing mean to you? What feelings and states does it bring about? Why do you write? Have your feelings changed? Why? Answering these questions can give you an idea of where you once were and how you got to this block. Being aware of your relationship to your writing can allow you the opportunity to realign or shift your perspective to fit your expectations of your craft. If you love writing poetry, but recently have been viewing publishing your work as a chore or a way to win approval, then you may experience a block because there was a shift. Either try to realign your relationship to your root perspective (because you love writing), or adopt a new one, like in the example of writing to cope with painful thoughts vs writing to express your thoughts, both good and bad.
Another component that tremendously contributes to the style and output of your writing is the medium. Do you love the feel of a pen gliding across the paper, or the sound of keys crunching beneath your fingertips? Or maybe you like the ease of jotting down thoughts in your phone’s Notes app, or transcribing the audible renderings of your story. Whatever your medium is, sometimes it may begin to hinder your progress. For instance, I personally love writing in a notebook because there is a deep sense of connectivity I feel pressing down on the paper, and seeing my words physically spelled out as I am thinking them. Call me old school. However, I have had to remind myself that sometimes I may be struck with inspiration in a moment when I don’t have access to a pen and paper, and I am fortunate to have a Notes app. I can always transcribe later if I want to. Also, practically, I get more out efficiently when typing on a computer. Changing up your medium may help your block because it provides a new way of expressing your art. Try handwriting your thoughts before you sleep, or typing into your phone while on the train/bus. I have never transcribed audio of my thoughts, but I am exploring doing so. Don’t restrict yourself to a particular mode or medium — explore different ways of expression.
Lastly, but certainly not least, the mood or your environment could play a part in your writer’s block. I usually would plop on my bed and write to my heart’s content when I first started writing for this blog. However, I recently started using my computer at a desk because it just increases my focus, and it has a nice official feel to it. Sometimes, I light a candle. Other times, I snack while I write. What do you do to set the mood for your writing? Do you have to get rid of clutter before you can hone in? Must you complete all essential tasks first before delving into the recreational? Or do you need a good ol’ cup of joe to keep the gears grinding? Whatever it is, maybe it isn’t working for you anymore. Or, maybe it isn’t practical in all situations. I won’t always have a candle near me to light (I wish!) or be able to sit at a table. Being flexible with your mood means experimenting with different environments, or at least keeping yourself open to changes in those environments. It is okay to want to stick to that game plan that hasn’t failed you yet. I’m not telling you to give it up. Consider this a nudge to do that AND try using or discarding other things in your environment that could bring your writing to a new level.
One Last Thing…
Beautiful people, I must say this before I close. While these three things could help revamp your writing, there is one very important thing that trumps all of these and could benefit you, not only in your writing, but in any area of your life:
Yes, it is okay to take a break from writing. It doesn’t make you any less of a writer. In fact, taking a break and basking in what you’ve already written is a great way of reminding you of the beauty of your craft. It can serve as a boost of confidence: If I can write these things that made people smile/cry/think etc., I can surely do it again. A break could be a couple of hours, days, months, heck even a year! You know what’s best for you and your writing process. We all deserve some rest.
There you have it: Three tips you can use alone or altogether that may help your writer’s block/artistic block. How do you deal with your writer’s block? Which of these tips do you see yourself trying out? Comment down below — I wanna know!
Fun fact: I tried one of these to break my block and write this post. Yay me! If I can, you can too!