Writer’s block is what took me 5 minutes, 2 complete deletions, and an uncomfortable joke before writing this particular first sentence. Which we can all admit is not exactly a winner.
Recently I have been experiencing a bit of a writer’s block. I have been away from writing for a bit, and now as I begin to work back into it I hold high expectations for myself and my work. I keep expecting that I will just create perfection on the first try, and I am not giving myself any room to make mistakes to be edited or even the chance to be creative. Due to my high expectations, rather than produce something spectacular I just produce a blank page and an eye twitch. I know this to be at the center of my issue, yet, knowing this, I still struggle to write with fluidity.
Being that I am struggling with writing, I have been looking into ways that other people cure this pesky block. I found suggestions in a variety of places, including some from everyone’s favorite (or at least my favorite) fast-talking, caffeine induced mom from TV, Lorelai Gilmore. More specifically the actress Lauren Graham who plays Lorelai, but I take up any opportunity where I can pretend I actually talk with Lorelai Gilmore and ask for advice.
Reading has been my method of helping me to improve and motivate my writing. It helps to expand my vocabulary (this is something Joshua from The Minimalists talks about), experience different writing styles, and provides inspiration. I try to switch up the genres I read, so that I am experiencing different writing styles and authors. It allows me to immerse myself in diversity, therefore bringing it to my personal writing.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” -Stephen King
I just finished the book Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham, which if you haven’t read it already is absolutely hilarious, and towards the end she passes on some advice that was given to her by Don Roos. Quick note, Don Roos is a screenwriter whose work includes the popular movie Marley and Me. Roos suggests creating a writing appointment, where you set a time, just like any other appointment, to write. He mentions that it’s important to choose fewer hours than more in the beginning, and it falls into the idea that you should set reachable goals for yourself. This way you decrease any opportunity for self-doubt if you do not reach the goals, and allows you to grow in a more timely manner. During this ‘writing appointment’ it is important that wifi is off on your computer, your electronics are put on airplane mode, and you are limited from distractions. He says to open up one document for your writing and another to act as your journal. This concept he uses forces you to write regardless, because if you are suffering from writer’s block you can go to your journal document and write about your day, the weather, etc. Regardless, you are always writing. Therefore you are always using the time within your writing appointment productively. Once the timer goes off and your set time is up, you must stop. Even if you are mid-way through a sentence, you stop and move on. It gives you a more artistic start to begin with the next day.
The podcast The Minimalists has an episode on writing, and throughout the episode, which this one is hosted only by Joshua, he discusses how to excel in your writing and to do so more consistently. He talks about ways to improve your vocabulary, find more time to write, and talks about the proper way to edit your pieces. He has similar suggestions to getting your writing done daily as Roos does. He basically just states that you need to just sit down. Just sitting and getting started, and minimizing any extra pieces you may be adding to your writing. Extra pieces means making coffee or playing music. Anything you might do aside from writing basically. He also says that you shouldn’t edit as you are writing, and I think that is where we get held up…or at least I do. Joshua says to write first, and then once you get through your piece you can edit. This eases the stress from writing, and can ease your writer’s block. The podcast episode is personal and honest, and the tips are doable and provoking. It really is beneficial no matter where you are in the writing process.
Check out the episode here!
Here are also some tips from The Minimalists website on writing as well.
These quotes from Buzzfeed News aim to inspire one to write more! I particularly enjoy the one below.
“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
I will say that these writing tips have helped me to work through my writer’s block. I have been applying these suggestions, and they have been helping me to be more productive and creative. It has also helped me to stop being so critical of my own work before the words are even on the page.
What are some ways you cure writer’s block?