Writers Block The Five Main Reasons Why Youre Experiencing It

and strategies to overcome it
Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

How many times we’re busy with our life, enrolled in tasks unrelated to writing, and our brain is hyperactive, plotting spectacular stories? Later on, we finally sit down with our writing gear, ready to workout on the keyboard or notebook, and… zero, nothing. Frustrating, isn’t it?

Being a writer includes going through blank moments, that can last hours or days. The best approach is don’t surrender; face the beast.

How can we do it? Understanding what’s behind the block.

> Knowing what caused the writer’s block, you will know how to overcome it.

Today I’m writing about the main five reasons for writer’s block and the strategies to help you annihilate it.

Photo by rawpixel on UnsplashI put this one first for pure egocentrism: perfectionism is the primary reason for my block.

Despite following my own advice, sometimes it’s hard not to edit while writing. When my first draft is bellow the quality I demand, my motivation drops. When I can’t glimpse, in those drafts, the final version of what I wish, I freeze.

I read somewhere that “when you push the delete key you lose your rhythm”. It’s true! The ideal is to write without editing; with typos, errors, mad ideas,… everything belongs in a draft.

About perfectionism, the American novelist Anne Lamott, says:

> Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.

Sometimes writers feel the characters stop talking to them.

When writing fiction, we embody the characters, we make them part of ourselves — we are him/her when we write; we spoke their language; we feel their emotions; we act on writing as the character.

While we’re on our writing bubble, we stop being ourselves to become them: our characters.

When the connection vanishes — and it can happen for several reasons -, the writer’s block shows its face.

To reconnect, the best you can do is take time out. A couple of days away from the characters and from the writing might help you.

But keep your writing alive inside you. Embrace the characters, listen to what they say, feel why they stopped talking with you: did you give them a reaction that doesn’t fit their personality? Their arc evolved contrary to what they deserve? Or it didn’t evolve?

Assess, on the distance, why the character stopped talking to you.

About this, the author Andre Dubus III says:

> I began to learn characters will come alive if you back the fuck off (…). If you allow them to do what they´re going to do, think and feel what they´re going to think and feel, things start to happen on their own. It´s a beautiful and exciting alchemy.

Having published a successful book or an article puts extra responsibility on your shoulders; triggers the need to write another piece as good as that one.

That anxiety’s the writer’s block peeking behind the door. You can only fight it by writing, ignoring the pressure. And keep writing, non-stopping.

Only by writing, we practice the craft. We get better with techniques, get our author voice tuned, and develop our creativity. And with that, getting over our writer’s block.

The novelist Samuel Beckett, claims:

> Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Fear of rejection is part of the writing process. It’s a shadow in our life.

Every writer should write for themselves, but external critique weighs, especially if you hope to be published or recognised as an authority in a matter.

In the world of blogging, each piece we publish carry the questions “what if no one likes it?”, “what if people think I only write useless things?”,…

How to deconstruct this fear? By assuming your audience is very distinct — because they are.
Some will love what you write, others won’t. Others won’t even read the synopsis or open the article. Famous writers aren’t loved by all readers.

Another way to soften your fears is to ask for feedback from your readers: send them a chapter of your book or your article.

> Constructive criticism helps us to become better writers.

The author Anne Enright has an assertive perspective about fear of rejection:

> You must recognise that failure is 90% emotion, 10% self-fulfilling reality, and the fact that we are haunted by it is neither here or there. The zen of it is that success and failure are an illusion, that these illusions will keep you from the desk, they will spoil your tallent (…).

Sometimes we’re so impassioned with our writing, so devoted to it, that the outside world ceases to exist. Our housework accumulates, sleeping is underrated, we work (in our “real job”) eager to get home to go back to writing, etc.

As much as this breakneck pace seems healthy — after all, our productivity and satisfaction tell us so — it’s not.

Writing non-stop, excluding social and recreation activities of your life, will weaken your resilience and, even, your immunity system.

You need to find, daily, time apart from writing: a walk to the park, meeting your friends. Go to the cinema, read a book in the cafe. Do what makes you happy — that will be reflected in quality if your writing. And in your health.

Stephen King also values the rest time in and author life:

> It´s important to have a strong balance in your life, so writing doesn´t consume all of it

The best antidote for writer’s block is self-knowledge.

When you find what’s stopping you from writing, you’ll find strategies to retaliate and, soon, return to writing.

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Helping each other write better.