When I first started writing, I remember “writer’s block” being sort of a buzz word among writing communities. Writer’s block is often blamed for lack of progress on WIPs, and phrases like “writer’s block” and “muse” have gone out of style in writing discussions.
In short – there’s no such thing as “writer’s block”. You’re just not working hard enough.
But that’s a really harsh way of saying it. I think that being a creative is really complicated. It’s not just writing – whenever you are building something from nothing, there’s a certain amount of pressure. Hard work is part of it, but hard work is not the only aspect of the process.
Oof, yeah, I said it. Inspiration.
The physical act of writing includes research, and the act of putting words to paper. There’s a lot of hard work involved in the act of writing, but those ideas need to come from somewhere. And they need go somewhere. Authors get stuck all the time. That space of being “stuck” is what I believe writer’s block actually is.
With that in mind, I would say that writer’s block exists, but maybe not in the way it’s often presented. And I believe there’s a couple different ways to look at it, and to move past it.
The most commonly suggested way of getting past writer’s block is to just keep writing. This isn’t a bad idea – it works for a lot of people. But writing when you aren’t sure where you’re going is like trying to sprint in the ocean. You can do it and you will eventually get somewhere, but it’s difficult and takes forever, depending on who you are. But there’s the consistency of writing and facing your problem, and that can help.
Another way people fight “writer’s block” is to revisit the things that inspired you. Depending on the story, this could be anything. Sometimes it’s research. Sometimes it’s just to read a book. Sometimes it’s time in a peaceful place.
I deal with writing block by brainstorming – I have a journal that I handwrite through my writing snarls in and it’s actually interesting to go back and lip through it. So many late nights during NaNoWriMo trying to get characters out of a bad situation or trying to find their motivation for a scene. Once I’ve dug my feet in and entangled the strings, I can usually get writing again.
So writer’s block? It’s not a myth. Creative blocks and challenges are very real obstacles that any creative person deals with, and it’s not anything different than professional challenges in other careers. The difficult part is that the whole moving machine comes from us, the writers. We have to motivate ourselves – we have to keep pressing forward and be willing to face the challenge head on.
Facing the challenge can be difficult, too. I will be perfectly honest and say that there are times when I know I should be writing, but choose to do something else – reading and blogging are huge distractions from my own writing – and that’s okay, too. Well, it’s okay if you’re not on deadline. But that’s not writer’s block. And I think that’s what gives the dry well of inspiration a bad name.
But I truly believe that most writers are working hard to move past the challenges in their WIPs. SO if you’ve got writer’s block – I believe in you! These things too shall pass! <3
Have you ever run into writer’s block? If so, how did you face it? What helped you get back on track? Let me know in the comments!