Finding the unlikely factors to deal with Writer’s Block

Sometimes the smallest differences can lead to big changes

It’s a common theme that novelists, students, and pretty much anyone else that has to deal with the written word has to deal with.

Writer’s block.

Run from it, dread it, it arrives all the same. There is something extra annoying about staring at a blank white screen with one cursor blinking- mockingly of course.

The run of the mill responses for dealing with such a problem are good places to start: do a writing prompt, just write about the first thing that comes to mind, and browse the news/social media for some inspiration (although be very careful with that). Yet some either do those steps to no avail or don’t feel like those steps would work to begin with.

It can reach a point where not writing anything during a writing session becomes the norm. Days turn into weeks into months and soon you’ve given up for the long haul. You’re mad at yourself for not pushing past it, you’re mad at the world for creating such a concept as writer’s block, and you’re mad at being mad.

However, when you do reach this step there will come the odd day where writing is like the inverted brother of writer’s block. There will be some days where the stars align and you’re able to pound out that story or article like it was nothing. Like your mind’s gutter was briefly unclogged and all your creative juices pour out.

Take note of everything happening when this occurs.

It doesn’t matter how big or small the various factors could be. Just take a step back and note whatever comes to mind as being slightly different than usual. Attempt writing with different surroundings to see if something sparks in you.

For me, I do a lot better writing while it’s dark or gray outside. If the sun is out I get antsy to be outside or doing chores outside. I noticed that when it rained out all of a sudden I was like a mini Stephen King, pounding out doubled my word goals. In parallel, after the gym my body is exhausted, but I’m twice as focused on the computer thanks to the fact that I don’t really need to move much.

That is to say there will be factors that you think work, but don’t at all. I thought for a while that I needed to eat before writing to get stuff done. This lead to a weird rush for me to eat breakfast quick so I could write before work and boy did it make my meals horrible. Turned out that it wasn’t about eating that was making me write more, but rather the not being hungry that was helping. Something much more manageable.

My friend has a cat and when he writes the best he claims that the cat is sleeping right between his monitor and keyboard. Is that a sustainable way to get you to write more? Heck no. Getting a cat to do anything is a losing battle. That isn’t to say that having your cat not meowing at your feet every 2 seconds isn’t helpful.

Is this groundbreaking stuff?

Not in the slightest.

Will every factor be helpful/controllable?

Nope.

But each little piece you can add to your arsenal is a step in the right direction. Or dare I say the “write” direction. I’ll take my comedian check now.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is a horrible thing, like a guy at a bar in the middle of a midlife crisis.

Writer’s block is a horrible thing.

It prevents writers from doing the one thing that makes the writers. So are they really writers at that point? They’re just frustrated people staring at the same sentence for an extended amount of time. It can be extended to other facets of life as well.

Everyone reaches a point where they don’t know where to go from there. They want to progress, but every time they start to move forward, something stops them. Some people have huge blocks, often referred to as a “midlife crisis”. Quite frankly, that is a horrible term. Any smart person would try to have their midlife crisis in their eighties or something so they could live until their 160. By then you could probably go to space and do some awesome old-person-in-space stuff.

Anyways, during a midlife crisis sufferers will often ‘discover’ that they are/were in a rut and were wasting their time; usually in the form of a soul-sucking job or maybe a less than ideal marriage. The realization of one’s own mortality, the minuscule impact one’s life is going to have in the grand scheme of the universe, the horror of shopping at Walmart. These are all realizations that may occur as a result of the crisis and to combat this victims will try to do one of two things; try to relive their youth or break up the monotony of their life all at once. These two options should remind you of a lazy son of a billionaire, they don’t work.

A person cannot just have a realization one day about changing up their life and have the exact life they wanted the next one. It’s a process. Instead of quitting your agency job to pursue your art career, just start by drawing in your free-time everyday. Are you planning on dying your hair so you can buy 50 dollar vodka/water mixed drink for a woman half your age at a bar? Maybe just try online dating first… I like your confidence though. The point is, when you’re having midlife crisis, its only a crisis if you try to 180 your life too quickly and you end up crashing and burning. You’re essentially doing a 360. You gotta build the changes you want to make in your life and then each time you do them, you’ll be that much closer to the person you want to be.

The same thing can go for writer’s block. Instead of writing an entire trilogy of novels in one night, just try writing a stupid blog post. About writer’s block.