What to do when you’re hit with writer’s block
First off – writer’s block is HARD. It’s MEAN. And it’s COMMON.
All writers suffer from it to differing degrees. So, if you’re suffering from writer’s block right now, the first thing to do is to stop beating yourself up about it. This is such a normal thing and it doesn’t mean you’re failing or never going to write again. It’s just harder right now.
Writer’s block, for me, is quite debilitating. It’s usually a confidence thing – I decide I’m no good and that my writing is appalling and that I’m stupid for doing it. All those negative feelings spiral and clog up my brain.
This is the case no matter what causes your writer’s block – deadlines, personal struggles, outside pressures, disappointments… the list goes on and on. These negative things take up the space in our brain that’s usually reserved for writing, so it’s much harder to make the words flow.
But again – stop beating yourself up.
No matter what’s causing your writer’s block, it needs to be tended to, not denied and shoved to one side. There may be some personal stuff you need to deal with, or some circumstance you need to come to terms with. Do it gently. Writing is not the only thing in your life – don’t let your brain tell you that you’re failing just because you’re not writing right nowTend to yourself, be gentle and kind, and the words will begin to flow again.
There are some ways I combat writer’s block – the first is taking a break. During these breaks (which I set a time limit on from the start so that I know when to get writing again, rather than letting the break stretch FOREVER) I take writing off the table completely.
This means that there is no cruel voice in the back of my head taunting me for not writing – I can’t write because it’s not even an option. Usually, after these breaks, I am raring to go again.
Another tactic I use is mini writing sessions. I’ll write for just ten minutes each day. Usually I’ll end up writing more, but on the really bad days writing for just ten minutes is enough.
But I’ve done it. I’ve written something. And gradually, I build up to longer writing sessions again.
Sometimes you HAVE to write – there is a deadline looming and writer’s block is not an option. At these times, I remove the distractions. Carve out time in the diary and don’t let anything encroach, hide your phone, sit somewhere with only what you need to write. Make writing literally the only thing you can do with that time – and don’t worry if what you’re writing is utter shit. Sometimes, we have to wade through some crap to get to the good stuff.
One last thing I like to do is record my progress. I’m intimidated by watching my word count go up while I’m writing so I’ve hidden the word counter, but at the end of each session I love to check what I’ve done and add it to a list/chart. All those little, sometimes painful, writing sessions add up to a book in the end!
No matter how you get yourself out of writer’s block – be kind to yourself. You’re not a machine, and you deserve rest and gentleness.