Do you recognize this?
Not at all!
Oh, please, be honest!
This is a situation that most of us have encountered when we have an urgent assignment to do, especially by the deadline.
I’m speaking of… Wait, what’s the word? … Oh, yeah, it’s right there on the tip of my tongue.
It’s: AUTHOR’S BLOCK!
Just getting things out of my mind and onto paper makes me feel better!
The scourge of the blank page is writer’s block.
Even though you may believe you know exactly what you’re going to write, your mind abruptly stops working as soon as that horrible white screen appears.
I am not referring to the kind of Zen meditation where you stare at the wall until enlightenment hits.
I’m talking about misery that feels kind of blank, anguish, panic, and sweat running down the back of your neck.
A writer’s block grows harder when there’s a deadline approaching.
That being stated, allow me to reiterate.
“The tighter the deadline, the worse the anguish of writer’s block gets.”
Can you now identify any potential cause for this terrible descent into silence?
The response is clear-cut fear!
You’re afraid of the empty page.
You are afraid you have nothing at all worthwhile to say.
You’re terrified of your own fear of writer’s block!
Whether you’ve conducted 10 years of research or not doesn’t always matter; all you need to do is put together cohesive paragraphs out of sentences you can recite in your sleep.
Anyone can experience writer’s block at any time.
Fear-based, it subtly undermines our confidence in our own value.
After all, it’s writer’s block, so that doesn’t just appear and tell you so.
No, it just makes you feel like a dumbass who had your sinuses opened to remove your frontal lobes.
Words that you ventured to speak into the wider world would undoubtedly be interpreted as meaningless noise!
With this unreasonable beast, let’s attempt to be reasonable.
Let’s list all the possible things that could lie underlying this horrible and dreadful situation.
You have to write a literary masterpiece from the very beginning of the first draft.
If not, you can consider yourself a total failure.
Editing as opposed to writing.
As soon as you type “I was born?” your monkey mind is sitting on your shoulder and screaming at you—no, that’s not right!
That is foolish!
Accurate, accurate, accurate, correct?
When all you can do is peel the fingers of a writer’s block away from your throat long enough to take a few ragged breaths, how can you even think, let alone write?
You’re concentrating on your gnarly fingers around your windpipe rather than what you’re trying to write.
Unable to begin.
The hardest sentence is usually the first one.
As authors, we are all aware of how crucial the opening line is.
It has to be amazing! It needs to be distinct!
It needs to grab your reader’s attention right away!
We cannot begin writing the text until we have overcome this unachievable opening sentence.
Your feline companion is ill.
You think your partner is unfaithful to you.
Your power could be cut off at any moment.
You’re infatuated with the neighborhood UPS driver.
You are hosting your in-laws for a dinner party.
You are… Do I really need to say more?
With all this mental clutter, how can you possibly focus?
It’s your preferred pastime.
It is your true love.
It’s the reason your garage workshop has 300 bookcases and 60 argyle sweaters stitched.
You never run out of Brie because of that.
It’s among the causes of your writer’s block!
Ways to Get Past Writer’s Block
I hear you all scrambling to get away from this piece as quickly as possible.
You fume—never in a million years.
It is an indisputable scientific fact that writer’s block cannot be overcome.
Oh, please, just move on!
I suppose it’s not that simple.
So make an effort to listen for a little while while sitting down.
All you need to do is pay attention.
It is not necessary for you to write a single word.
Yes, there you all are once more.
I can finally see you now that the dust cloud has settled.
I’m here to tell you that it is possible to overcome writer’s block.
Please stay in your seat.
This evil demon can be tricked in a few ways.
Select one or more, then give them a go.
Before your heartbeat has an opportunity to quicken, what happens soon?
You’ve got a writing.
The following are some time-tested strategies for getting beyond writer’s block:
Fear itself is the only thing to be afraid of.
(I realize it’s cliche, but feel free to improve as soon as you start writing.)
You might be able to avoid the worst of the debilitating panic if you give your project some thought before you really sit down to write.
Give up trying to be flawless.
A masterpiece is seldom written in the first draft.
Don’t hold yourself to any standards when writing!
Actually, admit to yourself that the writing you will do will be complete crap, and then allow yourself to thoroughly filth your working space.
Write rather than edit.
Never, ever start writing your first draft when your critical editor is perched on your shoulder, snarky remarks flying in your direction.
Writing is a mysterious process.
It is galaxies beyond the conscious mind.
Even the editorial, conscious monkey mind cannot understand it.
Make ready for an ambush.
Take a seat at your desk or computer.
Breathe deeply and release all of your ideas.
Either take up your pen or leave your finger hovering over the keyboard.
And then pull a fake: make it look like you’re ready to start writing, but instead flick that tiny, obnoxious, ugly monkey back into the barrel of laughter it came from with your dominant hand’s thumb and index finger.
Then hurry and get started! Let everything out—write, draw, yell, howl—as long as you use a pen or the keyboard on your computer.
Ignore the opening sentence.
When you’ve completed your work, you may worry about that crucial one-liner.
Target the midpoint, or perhaps the finish.
Anywhere you can, get started.
It’s likely that the first sentence will be blinking small neon lights at you from the depths of your composition when you read it again.
This one is challenging.
There are so many unexpected turns in life.
Consider your writing time as a brief getaway from all of those bothersome concerns.
Drive them out! Make a place, a real one if you choose, where the present instant is the only thing that exists.
Stomp on that annoying worry like you would an unsightly bug if it slips by you!
Don’t put off doing it.
Compose a summary.
Keep your research notes visible.
Start by reading the writing of others.
If necessary, ramble irrationally on paper or on a computer.
Simply go ahead and do it!
(Yes, I am aware that I copied that sentence from somewhere.)
Stick notes, outlines, and images of your grandmother on anything that might help you get started.
Keep the cookie you’ll be able to eat after finishing your first draft out of reach but still in plain sight.
Next, take up and read the same kind of writing that you are required to write.
Next, read it once more.
I promise that the fear will gradually subside.
When it does, pick up your keyboard and start writing!