Coping with Writer's Block

February 19, 2016

There comes a time in every writer's life, when they encounter debilitating writer's block. Writing is awesome and incredibly rewarding, but it is also ridiculously hard—some times more so that others. I have been stuck in a writing rut (block) since the start of January. Yeah... that long. Yeah... it sucks. Trying to write is like herding a bunch of cats; thoughts don't connect and words just don't seem to fit the way they used to (even writing this post was brutal). It's also saddening as it is frustrating. For a writer whose life is dedicating to rearranging 26 letters into magical phrases that turn into even more magical stories, it's like losing a magical part of what makes me, me. 

I'm pretty sure, writer's block looks different for everyone, and everyone has their own tricks for overcoming it. I certainly haven't found the failsafe cure yet, but I've learned a few things.

Everyone Gets Burnt Out

I was going going going all winter long with two jobs and my writing taking up my days from dawn to dusk. Considering all that was going on, and with the pressure I was putting on myself to edit I WISH I MAY, I'm not surprised at all that my writing tap dried up. And man, when it did, you can bet it threw me for a loop. At first I felt like a failure—like there was something I was doing wrong that made it hard to create. This, seeing other people writing away and getting things done, was painful. I was there not two months ago, blissfully typing away with endless words at my fingertips. It's hard not to get down on yourself when you know what it feels like when the words flow. You think "there's got to be something I can do to make the words come back?"

Truthfully, it's okay to get burnt out, and even more so, it's okay to take a step back. Taking a step back is not failure—it isn't quitting either. For me this meant pulling back on how much I was doing. Between all my social media platforms, blogging, and answering comments on Wattpad, there was a lot that took my attention away from writing.

Priority Check

With a job taking up more of my time, and writing at a snail's pace, having writer's block forced me to take a hard look at how I spend my time. This means that over the past month my blog has fallen a bit idle, comments have gone unanswered and there has been quite a bit of radio silence on my end. When the inspiration flows I could sit down at any time of day and crank out 2,000 words. Now... not so much. When I work up the courage and energy to sit down and write, I have to make it count. That means cutting out distractions. If I get anything good out of this experience, this is probably part of it. It's so easy to get distracted with everything other than writing, because (even in the good times) the act of sitting down and writing is the hardest thing we do in our day. Writer's block was my brain's was of saying "TIME OUT!" and it forced me (kicking and screaming and with weeping and gnashing of teeth) to take a hard look at what benefits me as a writer, and what is just a distraction.

Baby Steps

So how do I even get back to a good place as a writer? By scaling back. Start by eliminating one thing from your list that takes away from writing. It's a good place to start because it shakes up your routine. From there, shake up the writing routine. Write someplace new! Try writing by hand instead of on your computer. Write laying down. Try writing in silence (or to music if you usually write in silence). I tried all these things and I have to say they work. Seriously, there are so many ways to change up how you write. I'm not adding anything new to what's out there. Just go on Pinterest and search for "writer's block" and you'll come up with about a hundred and a half ways to change things up. If you keep pushing on, doing what you're doing and don't make a single change, you'll never get out of the rut. Take it from me, I just learned this the hard way.

Feast and Famine

Inspiration comes in cycles. This isn't the first time I've had writers block and I'm sure it won't be the last. If you have been writing for years, you definitely will know this to be true. If you are reading this because this is the first time you've encountered it, know that it comes and goes. There are times of feast and there are times and famine, but it's important not to let the times of famine keep you from pushing yourself on. After all, "a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." You guys, we're gonna make it! I promise!

So what are some ways that you've found to combat writer's block? Sound off below!

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  1. *flops* I'm stuck in the middle of writer's block right now. I've found that reading good/favorite books helps a lot! It gets me thinking and gets my brain working again.

    1. UGh! My heart goes out to you! And I agree! Reading (good books) helps so much! That and working in short, twenty minute bursts.

  2. I agree with Aimee that reading fantastic books definitely inspires me! Or if books will pressure you, movie trailers are the best -- seriously, the people who put those together know how to get someone excited, and more often than not I browse through several different trailers for inspiration and atmosphere.

    1. Movie trailers?!? I've never thought to do that before! What kind of movie trailers do you recommend?


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