By Del Duduit
The two most dreaded words for a person who writes – writer’s block.
It happens to all of us, at least I think it does. I know it happens to me a lot. But I try to plow through and not let It get the best of me.
My author friends and I have discussed this. It is real. And we also talk about how we overcome it when it happens.
When I experience this “condition,” I do one of two things:
1 – I walk away from the keypad and take a break.
2 – I plow through and just start writing.
Writer’s block can take such a toll on some writers that it pushes them away from their desired craft.
I am helped by my years of experience in the media facing a deadline. Back then, I didn’t have time for the block. My editor would not have accepted this as an excuse when he needed a story for the paper in 30 minutes.
Every time I have a manuscript deadline, I always turn it in early. A deadline pushes me to get the job done.
Amazingly, my research about “writer’s block” reveals that it is considered to be an official condition.
“Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author is unable to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown. This creative stall is not a result of commitment problems or the lack of writing skills. The condition ranges from difficulty in coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Writer’s block is not solely measured by time passing without writing. It is measured by time passing without productivity in the task at hand,” according to Wikipedia.
There are a number of causes that invite the block: creativity problems, distractions, physical illness, depression, pressure, and physical damage.
There are also treatments: group discussion, classes, journals, brainstorming sessions, clustering, and list making.
Actual studies have even been conducted to find a way to recover from drawing a blank, according to Wikipedia, there are a number of solutions, including mixing things up by writing at different times each day, establishing deadlines, breaking your writing up into pieces rather than doing all your writing at one time, and evaluating your writing environment to make sure you have the best working conditions.
Burnout is real, but I also believe some writers use “writer’s block” as an excuse not to finish their projects, because they are afraid to complete their tasks.
Some writers may also feel:
- Unworthy: They might think, “Who am I to write a book or a paper?” or “Who would want to read anything I write?”
- Scared: Fear may be the hurdle to overcome. They might be afraid to share their stories for fear of failure or receiving criticism.
- Lost: They may not know what to do or where to begin. A journey must start somewhere. They don’t have to know where they are going, but it’s good to have a goal in mind.
If you experience writer’s block, the point here is to not let that stop you, and don’t give more credit to the block than it deserves.
You are worthy.
Overcome your fears.
Begin your writing journey.
I have spoken to a few people who have let “writer’s block” keep them from fulfilling their mission. It has trapped them because they have allowed it to happen.
In football, you try to brush off the blocker in order to make the tackle. The best advice for me is to shed the block and make the play — or just keep writing.
When you experience writer’s block, try my two methods. Take a few minutes to walk away – but it’s essential to return as soon as possible. Then, write.
Your work does not have to be perfect. As an agent, I hear this often. Authors want their work to be “perfect,” so they re-write and edit in a vicious cycle.
He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. (Ecclesiastes 11: 4 KJV)
There comes a point when you must tell yourself it is finished and leave it alone.
It’s okay to have writer’s block. Just don’t let it have you.
Why do you think I chose this topic for my blog this week? Because I had writer’s block – but I wrote anyway.
Follow me on Twitter here.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.