Writer’s Block

Writing is a joy for me. The excitement I get in taking an idea from my head and exploring it in words is still as satisfying as it was at eleven years old, when I first found the love of this craft. But I am not going to say that it is easy. In fact, I find the opposite to be true. I am a perfectionist when it comes to my writing. I want to use the least words possible for the most impact. In this way I adopt the method of Hemingway, as opposed to Dickens or Faulkner. I have nothing against those two writers, by the way. There are lots of different styles of writing. I think the style I practice makes writing a bit more difficult and, yet, fulfllling for me. Which brings me to the reason for this post: Writer’s Block.

Webster defines Writer’s Block as a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece. This is the stuff of nightmares for a writer. To have an idea and find yourself unable to bring it out is maddening. This is my current predicament. In writing, as in life in general, this is my situation. Expressing myself in words and writing is a challenge right now. I envy people who seem to have a way with words. They can write and write. They seem to have an endless store of ideas and the words to express them.

I believe I know the main causes for my Writer’s Block. This is a season of fine-tuning for me; of transition. Distancing myself from old habits and people who should not be in my life. And I am working my way toward goals, but am not there yet. This unsettled period is probably taking up enough of my mind as to hinder my writing. It is my hope that, as with many things in my life, writing about it will help me get over it. Also, I am trying new forms. I am most comfortable with nonfiction, almost journalistic writing. I want to experiment with different styles of poetry and other forms of writing. See how much I can mature as a writer.

I mention this last point as a preview of posts to come, and as a way of keeping myself accountable. I have always heard that the two best activities for a writer are to read and write. So if you see me out and about, or we talk by email or social network and you think about it, ask me how the writing is going. It will keep me focused. In the meantime, I’ll be reading, thinking, and, hopefully, writing.

Have any of my writing friends experienced severe bouts of writer’s block? If so, did it just take time to come out of it? Or do you have any tricks that might help me? As always, thanks for reading.

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6 thoughts on “Writer’s Block

  1. Jim, I am not a writer so can’t offer you any practical tips regarding breaking through writer’s block. I can however offer you my support and admiration for your ability to create by putting pen to paper. I have wished for such a gift and often wondered what it would be like to possess it. Even though I don’t, I know that writing is a lot harder than it may appear. It also seems to require a lot of discipline, which leads me to another thought: in the time we’ve come to know each other, you have demonstrated a gracious sense of humor and patience in the way you handle life’s challenges. I have every confidence that you will persevere in this situation, too. Keep on keepin’ on, my friend. xxoo

  2. I probably have a strange approach to this one, because I know for some, writer’s block is very real. For my part, I like to treat it like writer’s block isn’t real. The way I approach is it to tell myself that nothing outside of my own willingness to write is preventing me from doing it. If I put the term “writer’s block” on it, it seems like I’m being oppressed by some outside force I have no control over. I don’t say this to diminish anyone’s struggle with it, but rather, just to impart what works for me.

    So, when I’m having a hard time getting going writing, I do two things. First, I tell myself the following: “I am allowed to write utter poo.” Revision and edits exist for a reason, so there’s no reason not to write if you’re allowed to write, well, complete crap. And once you’re not staring at a blank page anymore, it’s easier to move on, Second, I set a VERY small word count goal. Maybe start as low as 100 words. That’s about a short paragraph. That way, you can eek out two sentences, and you’ve accomplished your goal. Don’t allow yourself to do anything less than your goal, but if you find once you hit that goal, you can keep moving (often the case with me), do it. Gradually up your word count goals- 300 words, 500, etc. until you hit about 1k a day. For many writers, 1k a day is a good “maintenance” goal. Sometimes it’ll be more, but if you hit a goal, it does the important part, which is to get you moving.

    I hope this helps.

    • Thanks, Colby. This does help. I know writer’s block is just a term to put to an idea. And I know it will get better as long as I don’t give up, which I won’t. I just really dislike this feeling of being stuck. That no word is good enough. Again, this really does help. I appreciate you taking the time to write.

  3. I’m not sure if it’s writer’s block or just a general lethargy which then encompasses writing as well. I get ideas and if I had the time and will to write them down instantly, it would flow. But being exhausted most of the time leads to non-writing periods which tend to lengthen.
    The best thing that works for me is forcing myself to write every day. Even when it feels what I write is dreck. :)

    • I really should force myself to write more often than I do. I mainly do it when I am in the mood, or when I have a good idea. You’re probably right about a general lethargy being a cause.

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