Getting writer’s block is something every writer dreads, especially if you’ve to come up with fresh articles or content pieces regularly. After all, spending every day trying to come up with new content, stories, or plots isn’t everyone’s forte. And even published authors face tremendous problems in aligning their writing process to make it consistent.
Writer’s block is, in simple words, an inability to write. Why does it happen? Because writing isn’t easy. It’s something that requires a huge amount of thinking and then combining all those thoughts to create something new. It’s a highly creative process that can’t just be gotten rid of with ease, if you want to come up with quality content that is. There are those who just pen down whatever they come across on the internet, by either rephrasing it or sometimes not even doing that much.
For those who want to come up with original content, this process can become overwhelming sooner than later. And when that happens, speaking from experience, the result isn’t fun. So in this blog, I reflect upon how writer’s block has affected not just my ability to come up with content but also hindered my thinking ability, the psychological and human reasons behind this occurrence, and what you can do to make things a little easier to get out of this block.
Writer’s Block Isn’t Always a Blank State of Mind
Many people believe that having a writer’s block means a blank state of mind where one can’t even think of coming up with content. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, we have the thoughts all lined up in our heads, and we even get new ideas to implement in addition to the previous thoughts, but we can’t figure out how to practically apply those ideas and thoughts in our work.
A writer’s block doesn’t always mean you can’t think, sometimes you can, but you just don’t know how to put those thoughts on paper. It’s not always that your mind is blank, at times it’s just too overwhelmed, the pressure too intense and the standards you set for yourself are what keeps bringing you down because you know you need a rest and you know there’s none coming up anytime soon.
But why does it happen? Lack of motivation, for one. For another, a loss of the ability to streamline your thoughts. And on a physical level, it can be a disruption in your brain’s word-processing areas too.
The Psychology Behind Writer’s Block
Although the brain has never been officially studied as a reason behind writer’s block, various studies have been conducted that indicate dysfunction in certain brain areas can be the reason behind it. Mainly, the Broca’s area, which is responsible for speech production. It’s reported that since this area is involved in major speech functions, disabilities in this part of the brain is what leads to writer’s block.
Furthermore, a study was conducted where people were asked to come up with either creative or non-creative stories, results from an fMRI scan showed that in this activity, brain areas in addition to Broca’s area were also activated. Some such areas, such as the anterior cingulate cortex, are involved in critical thinking, and making abstract connections between words, a skill required for writers to become successful.
Another study on creative writing and brainstorming also showed high activity in frontal lobe areas involved in language formation and thought processing. This leads one to conclude that writer’s block isn’t exactly a writing block rather a creativity block; it’s an inability to come up with creative words or thoughts i.e. an inability to make connections between thoughts and coming up with creative ways to present them. I’ve also discussed some more reasons behind writer’s block below.
You can’t expect your writing to be perfect, especially if you’re just starting out. There’s always going to be edits and re-edits, and so on but most beginners set too high a standard of perfection for themselves, thinking they need to get it right the first time. This creates a lag in the writing process as it makes you think you’re not doing good enough.
Sometimes, writer’s block means you need a break. We’re humans and, being that, very capable of getting tired either physically, mentally, or emotionally. And this exhaustion can sometimes show itself in the form of writer’s block. In such situations, the best you can do is take a break, have some good sleep, eat, go for a walk, watch a show, etc.
We all live a life outside of the work we do, and at times this life can become too distracting for us to be capable of focusing on our writings. Either our commitments or a personal issue arises that keeps demanding our attention and we go blank when it comes to putting something down on paper.
At other times, distractions occur in the form of us straying away from our path of focusing on a single topic. We either get involved in searching for another idea or keep looking for a change from the mainstream. This can also cause writer’s block.
Your Passion is Lagging
It’s natural to get bored when writing about a certain topic. You have worked on it for so long that now even re-reading a single paragraph seems exhausting, and after a while, it may even start to seem not enough or boring. At this point, a fresh pair of eyes would be of help. But that can also make way for uninvited opinions and nitpicking that will end up making you question your entire content.
Hence, it’s important for you to remember not to give your brain too many negative cues. Our brains work on the basis of the patterns of thoughts we’re providing it with. So getting easily bored or succumbing to negative criticism about your writing at the first sign of trouble will have negative consequences in the long term because then, every time you face an issue, your brain will respond by creating a block in the process of writing and being creative.
What You Can Do
All the reasons described above are inevitable, especially if you’re a creative writer who has to do the job regularly. All of us have responsibilities outside of our writing scope, and we’re bound to get distracted or involved in those tasks rather than just keeping our focus on writing. Even when it comes to writing, we’re bound to start working on different topics and ideas instead of sticking to one single idea for weeks and months on end.
And if you have a permanent job that requires regular content creation for different topics, made in different tones, you can’t blame yourself for losing your path and being too tired to keep up with your writing demands. In such cases, there are a few things you can do that can refresh your mind and make your writer’s block go away.
– Read someone else’s writing. This doesn’t just refresh your mind by reading a new tone than the one you’re used to writing in, it can also provide you the inspiration you’ve been looking for to come up with new ways to implement your ideas in your words. Although, remember that your task is to only get inspired by the writer’s work, not copy it down and call it your own.
– Work without letting other things distract you. Sit down to start writing, ask everyone not to disturb you while you’re at it, and write constantly without stopping, and without going above to re-read what you’ve written. Once you’re done writing, then you can review the entire write-up and figure out whether you’ve missed anything or need to make changes.
– Plan regular breaks to give yourself ample breaks between the writing process. Burnouts aren’t good, neither physically nor psychologically. Hence, you need to give yourself proper resting time to be able to continue creatively with your writing.
– Lastly – and this part is where most of us get stuck – don’t procrastinate. The more we put off working on something, the more it acts as an anxiety trigger and even stops us from working on more projects. It’s probably not even as complicated as you’re making it out to be, so just get done with it.
This is all I could come up with on writer’s block while trying to get through a writer’s block of my own. While it’s not exactly pleasant to deal with one, it’s not the end of your creative writing process either. Remind yourself that it’s okay to take regular breaks and give yourself a rest; your brain will still be able to come up with new ideas, and you can make a list of all those ideas to work on them later. You’re still capable of doing other things while you’re not writing, focus on those. Play games, read books, focus on lighter content creation, all of this helps in pushing your writer’s block out. So take advantage of it. It’s not the end of the world, don’t treat it as such either.