All writers reach one snag in their writing career at least once, and many hit this snag often. This “snag” is when you are wanting to write and nothing comes out. You cannot form your ideas, you cannot think of correct wording. All in all, you find yourself at an impasse.
We all have dubbed this notorious phenomenon as “Writers Block“.
But what if I told you that writers block does not exist?
My senior year of high school I was working on writing a novel as my senior project. During this time, one major requirement was to have a mentor to assist and manage your project. I chose an English teacher who mainly taught writing workshop classes to students who struggled in English. I was lucky enough to be his student in one of these classes (accidentally) for two weeks. He was a quirky, funny man with a love for writing and adventure. I swear, every other sentence he spoke held some type of writing etiquette that I’ve used every day since.
Out of the many things that I learned from him while he was my mentor, one thing has always stuck with me.
I was working on my novel and was half way through. I had hit that notorious “snag” and went to him for advice. With frustration bellowing through me, I said “I am having some serious writers block. Is there anything I can do to make it go away?”
Simple enough, right? I’m sure we’ve all thought this or voiced this at least once in our lives.
I expected an empathetic reply with a few writing prompts or “take a break”, something along those lines. However, my mentor was a blunt and honest man. He always said things to improve my writing. Never to coddle me.
He looked me straight in the eye and said: “There is no such thing as writers block.”
I’ll be honest, I felt slightly invalidated, but as he continued, it began to make sense. He told me that writers block is just an excuse for a disorganized mind. And if you break it down to the nitty gritty, it’s true. Your words will not formulate because there is too much junk cluttering your mind whether it’s too many ideas, personal worries, etc., Writers block does not exist. It is only your own disorganized thoughts disguised as an excuse of a phrase such as ‘writers-block’.
With his words ringing in my ears, I took myself to a quiet area in the library to mull all of this over and found a few ways to break down my thoughts:
- I wrote down my thoughts as they came, regardless of their content or relation to writing
- I reread what I had of my novel
- I outlined a general idea of what the next pages and chapters should look like
- I made to sure to keep my theme visible at all times, using it as an anchor for my thoughts
- I breathed.
Five simple steps that I found worked to get me back on track. I have to admit, they are simple yet take a lot of work. Especially if your thoughts can get as chaotic and disorganized as mine.
Changing my perspective and changing “writers block” from an excuse to identifying it as a problem, gave way to a plethora of solutions.
So try not to think of writers block as an excuse to not write. Don’t allow yourself to think “I am just having awful writers block, there is nothing I can do. I’ll have to wait until it goes away on it’s own.” Don’t wait. Instead, find the solution. Change your perspective and how you are viewing your current thoughts. Maybe you’re just a bit overwhelmed and taking on too much? Maybe those five steps may give you a hand.
Before deciding to walk away until it goes away, why not just take a step back and look a bit harder at the situation? You may find that maneuvering your way through the dark tunnel is a lot easier than you thought.