Writer’s Block affects everybody – from young students to Ray Bradbury and Stephen King.
But first, What is Writer’s Block?
It’s when you sit down to write and nothing comes out.
You stare at the notepad, or the blinking cursor, for an hour.
For two hours.
For two weeks.
You might type something, look over it, and erase it.
After a while you get down on yourself and very negative.
Maybe you expect yourself to be able to write.
Maybe you think you are skilled enough to write content on command.
Maybe you procrastinated and have to hammer out a paper for school.
Maybe your paycheck depends on words appearing.
You mind is blank and won’t cooperate.
I was recently talking to a friend, and he asked me what I had been doing lately.
I replied that I was reading a lot and writing a good bit.
He said: Writing is difficult and insanely personal
And I had to agree.
It’s not easy to keep writing, and unless you dig deep, it’s trash.
So Let’s do this.
Here are my top 5 reasons why people, specifically bloggers, have Writer’s Block(and what to do)
1. It’s not easy to create content consistently (or do anything consistently) – It’s difficult to be original. To create. You have to take some time to yourself, and dig deep, day after day. It may seem everything has been written about a hundred times.
Why write something that’s already been written about to death?
What to do: Stop worrying so damn much about what people will think about your work (primarily what you yourself will think). They will like it or not, but neither will happen if you don’t write it out and send it out there. Remember: it’s all subjective.
One person might enjoy your work; another person might think you’re retarded.
Doesn’t matter. So share your message anyway. Maybe you can write in a new light someone hasn’t seen before. Maybe what you can bring to the table will be a fresh look at an old and stuffy subject.
2. Pressuring yourself to write – and that stifles creativity. You feel like you need to hit a certain word count, or write daily. It becomes a chore.
When you don’t want to do something, but feel like you have to, it creates negative feelings toward it, which shuts down any kind of creativity.
Why do something you hate?
What to do: You can’t take an idea and strangle it to death through sheer willpower, and pummel it into content. Understand, there are other pursuits; you don’t have to only be a writer. You don’t have to do anything really. So don’t limit yourself. Work on another aspect of your craft…
And stop pressuring yourself to write. Go do something else you enjoy for a while, the muse will return on her own(Promise).
3. Lack of experience – It’s impossible to write about experience that you don’t have. You can’t just hear or read a cool idea and try to write about it, as if you’ve been there.
It will be obvious. It’s not enough to just hear a cool idea or see something interesting, and write about it. Your readers will wonder: “That’s nothing like what my experience was… Seems fishy.” And there goes your credibility.
There are a lot of topics I don’t write about, and there’s a reason for that – I don’t know shit about them!
What to do: Be Real. Write about what you do know. Go live your life. Pursue the topics you want to write about. Practice them in real time.
That way you will develop the skills, and have the experience. When people ask you questions, you’ll know the answers, because you’ve been there.
4. Copyright – You can’t copy content from websites or books without pissing people off. You can’t steal images from Google without getting shut down with copy write infringement.
The content has to be your own, and guess what – that’s hard. Day after day, you have to come up with something from nothing.
What to do: Spend the time and effort to come up with ideas. If an idea for an article comes up, immediately write it down, so you don’t forget. This usually happens when I am trying to fall asleep.
Don’t dismiss ideas, just jot them down and look over them later. I have a long running list of topics to cover in the future. If one idea doesn’t flow, you can just go on to another.
5. Trying to be too cool – This is also known as Mr. Cool Dude syndrome that exists on social media. Everyone tries to pretend to be way cooler that they are, especially on the internet.
And when you’re playing the cool dude, you overthink everything. You wonder how this or that will be perceived. That takes a lot of energy, and instantly grinds everything to a halt.
Mr. Cool Dude: You refuse to be vulnerable, and that means you don’t connect with your readers.
So why are you not being open? You don’t want to look bad. You don’t want to look like a real person with real problems and shortcomings. You’re worried people will shame you for what you write, make fun of you, or not like you.
What to do: Everyone has skeletons in the closet, I don’t care who you are. The worst experiences we have are the ones we grow from the most. Share them. Most people will be relieved to know, that there are others out there living through the same thing.
And if you can offer information and help, well, that makes you valuable and fun to read.
Go over a problem that you’ve had, and share how you’ve overcome it, what has worked best for you. Someone who is still struggling with it – will appreciate it.
Bonus: #6. My own secret reason for having what I called “Writer’s Block” but wasn’t really even Writer’s Block: I was too Negative. I was very cynical, and it bled through into my writing. I would review things I wrote and think to myself: “This guy’s a condescending asshole, he’s never happy with anything!” It wasn’t something I wanted to send out, and it definitely wouldn’t have been helpful to anyone.
So I quit writing and made sure that first: I was balanced out, positive, and enjoying the actual life I planned to write about. Didn’t write a word until that happened, and didn’t feel obligated to.
Instead what I did do was take a good look at myself. Went out to learn everything I could. Took the opportunities to become better. Once I felt like I would be able to write from a positive and helpful place, then I picked up the pen.
And when I sat down to write…
…there was no more Writer’s Block.
Best of luck in your future endeavors…