Write for the Love of it!
Writer’s Block – What is it really?
Glenna Mageau, Award Winning Author, Speaker, Writing Coach
You’re not alone.
Have you ever had an idea for a story but can’t seem to get it to go anywhere? It’s just not going where you thought it would or should?
Or have you started writing something and it sounds nothing like you were sure it would?
Or are you just stuck? Your story won’t come to you? The words won’t come? You find yourself staring at a blank page?
The good news is that you’re not alone. Many writers and authors find themselves in this place at one point or another. It is definitely not a fun place to be or one that any writer wants to find themselves.
Writer’s Block – What is it Really?
Some people will actually tell you it doesn’t exist, that it isn’t real. Others swear that it is a thing. I am one of those people who do believe it is something real. I know I’ve had my moments where I wasn’t able to write, to get the story that I thought I was going to, down on paper. At least not the way I thought I should, it hasn’t sounded anything like I had wanted it to. I have had moments of truly believing it was just time to quit because obviously I am not a writer. I mean if the words don’t come to me, how can I call myself a writer? If what I write sucks, then how can I call myself a writer?
And that is where the problem comes in. I truly believe that writer’s block is when a writer is in that place, of ‘this sucks’… ‘my writing sucks’.
Now that I’ve written over twenty books and published eight, I understand writer’s block a whole lot more.
How do you end up there?
There are many reasons why a writer can end up in that place. It can be old programming of being told, ‘you’re not very good’… getting the red ink of death in English class… not being supported in your writing… Or it can be because you did a lot of work on some piece and it didn’t sound like you’d hope it would… Or it didn’t get the recognition you thought it should… Or you are not connected to the story that you’re writing about…
There are many reasons why writers feel writer’s block. The worst part about writer’s block or that inability to write the way you want to is that there is a wall between you and what you want—ultimately a good story. Sometimes you can see where you want to be with your story but just can’t seem to get there. And sometimes you just feel like you are floundering in a river, not really able to grab anything significant or make it flow for you.
Aaaaah! It is so frustrating.
Writer’s Block is it real?
How does it make you feel?
When the ideas and the story doesn’t flow, often there becomes this frustration, this anxiety and for some this determination to ‘make’ it happen. All of that unfortunately tends to make the situation worse. Some people have learned a way to push through and just write something. Sometimes it turns out great and sometimes not. Sometimes we can’t get out of our own way to see how good it really is.
Unfortunately, many will just walk away from their writing. They don’t see how they can make it work. I know when I started writing, when I finished a book, if it didn’t sound good, I walked away from it. So here I spent all this time to write 80,000 plus words and because I felt it sucked, I walked away. When really all it needed was some rewrites and editing.
A few may leave that piece and move on to write something else. Which is great and sometimes the best cure for writer’s block
However, writer’s block, not dealt with, may mean it will rear it’s head again.
It is not a fun place to be and it is not an easy thing to deal with.
“Writer’s Block is being stuck in ‘this sucks!”
What can you do?
So when you find yourself up against the pen and paper and not able to write the words you want, try some of these things:
- Scream out loud and let that frustration go – may not work but can feel good and shift your energy.
- You can write about your frustration 🙂
- Take a deep breath – the first draft is meant to suck. The great news is that you get to fix it in the rewrite.
- Take a blank piece of paper and write the topic in the center of the page. Then start writing down ideas, the things that come to mind for this topic, any information that comes to you. Then take one of those ideas and see what information comes up.
- Do some research. Find out what types of questions people are asking around your topic.
- Talk out loud or even better talk to someone that you can bounce ideas off of. Talking out your story can make all the difference. Ideas will start to flow, believe me.
- Sometimes you just need to walk away for a short period of time – either forget it until you come back to it or play with it and just let ideas flow. You decide what you need in that moment.
- Sometimes you just need to write a new piece at that moment in time.
How do you prevent It?
One way that I have found that really helps to prevent Writer’s Block is that when you sit down to write and the writing is flowing, before you leave the writing, put down any ideas or thoughts you have. Be clear on what you were writing about. One of the best things you can do is to play with your story or article while you are away from writing it.
Writer’s Block, is not fatal and does not need to be that thing that keeps you from writing. Know that you are not alone and that you can overcome it.
“Writer’s Block just might be a right of passage.”