Writer’s block (and when it’s so bad you can’t think of a decent title for your post) #AuthorToolboxBlogHop February

If you write, you know exactly what I mean. You want to write, you sit down to write – then nothing. 

I’ve got several pieces I need, and want, to work on. 

  •  A novel I’m revising
  •  A short story I’ve promised a friend
  •  Another short story I need to ensure is ready to add to Amazon (shameless plug: you can purchase Tell Us a Story, Pa on Amazon now if you haven’t read the Heart of a Child anthology)
  •  And this blog that I am determined to do at least once per month

My brain, however, has other ideas. 

To be fair on myself, I have had a difficult month in other areas that have occupied my mind. But the fact remains that if I want to be successful at this writing caper, I need to actually write.

So I decided to research just what writer’s block actually is, and possible solutions. (I also have an ulterior motive for this – I don’t know what else to write anyway).

Square_Hippie_-_Jennifer_Lachs
Image from Open Colleges page on Jennifer Lachs

I typed ‘What is writer’s block’ into the search engine. And bingo! The very first thing that pops up is ‘The Psychology of Writer’s Block (And How to Overcome It)‘ by Jennifer Lachs. Lachs tells us that: “Webster’s dictionary defines writer’s block as “a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece.” (Lachs, 2018). A bit obvious, Mr Webster. Lachs, however, delves more deeply into the subject. I interest was certainly piqued when she cites Susan Reynolds claim that writer’s block is not a psychological problem but that the reason for it is that writing is, essentially draining and hard.

 

After pointing out that it doesn’t really matter if it’s psychological or not, Lachs goes on to outline four of the most common reasons for writer’s block:

Fear

Perfectionism

Self-criticism

External pressure

Light bulb moment for me – two of those, in particular, resonate with me. I would like to

light-bulb-2010022_640
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

add another to that list: internal pressure. That pressure you put on yourself when you set yourself deadlines, commit to doing something in a certain time frame – you know the type of thing I’m talking about. And don’t get me wrong. Those commitments and deadlines are often the difference between completing a task and checking out Dogs of Instagram and The Betoota Advocate.

 

Thankfully, Lachs also offers nine possible remedies:

Exercise (actually, I often think of great ideas while swimming laps and after a good workout with the personal trainer, I usually get a few creative things done)

Switch tasks (all I can say about this one is that finding Jennifer Lachs’ post has helped a lot – so he change of task was useful here)

Change your scenery (I do remember being quite productive sitting in the bar area of an RSL club, wine in hand, waiting for an hour or so for my husband’s concert to start)

Try free-writing (I have to admit that this one does not work for me)

Do not disturb (meaning find a distraction-free space. While I don’t necessarily want silence, I hate being interrupted mid-thought)

Change your rhythm (this one is also a struggle for me. I’m not a morning person at all. My writing has to happen after noon. And yes – I have tried to do it in the morning).

No more binging (binge writing, that is. I think we’ve all done that. And, while it’s good at the times, the burnout often lasts for days)

Be bored (enough said)

Strive for progress, not perfection (I believe that this one is so important. And I also believe that I am also not the only writer to struggle with this one. Definitely something to aim for).

I had no intention of just using one source for this blog. I fully intended to provide several sources, give there pros and cons, in an effort to break my own dry spell. But I’m taking my own advice and removing the internal pressure. I certainly got enough from the Lachs post that I feel that I can get going on the writing path again.

Cheers

Kerry

 

Featured image by Lukas Bieri from Pixabay

11 thoughts on “Writer’s block (and when it’s so bad you can’t think of a decent title for your post) #AuthorToolboxBlogHop February

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  1. Really great post, Kerry. Internal pressure is a huge one, and it is different from the others. I would also add that there is more than one type of fear. I’m afraid readers won’t like the work, I’m also afraid I’ll write myself into a plot conundrum I can’t write myself out of, and it could be a wasted several months.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. As I write full-time, I write even when things are not going well. I tell myself I’ll work it all out in editing. Or my hubby reminds me of that! It’s taken me years, but I finally have a daily and weekly writing schedule. Finding a time that works best to write helps a lot. I thought 6 am to 9 am was my best time. I was wrong! I also discovered I can write more in a day than I thought.

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  3. There was a time when I had nothing to say. It was immediately after NaNo and honestly I was exhausted. Being empty is another reason for not writing. I’m not sure the professionals would call it writer’s block.

    But it sure felt like it to me. Best advice is feed your soul with things you love. From chocolate to puppies then write about that. Once the spell is broken, who knows what may happen…

    Good luck. You can do this because you are too stubborn not to. 😉

    Like

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