Today I’m cheating and drinking a delicious instant espresso with a little bit of cream. Somedays I’m too busy to go to the coffee shop.
What’s your drink of choice today? Wine doesn’t count unless it is after 5! HaHa!
For the last five years, I’ve been dealing with a wicked case of writer’s block. It was all an internal struggle of emotional and mental dilemmas. My main problem is I worked myself into a petrified fear of success and assurance of failure. I worked myself into so much fear that I couldn’t work on my stuff.
I came up with a plan. I started a book blog. I was told once that the best reader was the best writer. If I couldn’t write for myself, I would write for other people. All the while getting a backdoor experience of the industry I am trying to be connected to. I considered it constant forward motion even if it wasn’t a direct way of writing for myself.
I attended an author/reader conference this fall as I am on staff with the magazine that holds it. I poured over the agenda and picked out the workshops that promised would help with writer’s block. One particular workshop was done by a well-known alleged author. (She is not well known to me) It specifically said that she would cover writer’s block.
I get into the workshop a few minutes late. The perks of being on staff you don’t have to pay for anything but a plane ticket. The downside is sometimes your duties pull you away. So she’s in the middle of giving us a blow by blow description of one of her books. I was super confused because nothing that she was supposed to cover was being covered. I held in there thinking she would eventually get to the topics I was desperately wanting to be included. In the end, she didn’t cover them but opened up the room for question. So I ask the million dollar question How do you deal with writer’s block. Her answer quite condescendingly Is “I never get writer’s block.” I was shocked and a little offended. I had to quickly bite my tongue because my retort would have been excusing me for being a mere mortal. LOL! Thank goodness I do have manners and kept my thoughts to myself.
I was so discouraged; her answer made me feel alone and inadequate. Like I was the only one It did not help the ever-growing insecurities that were holding me back from writing.
On a more positive note, the next day a writer who had been at the workshop pulled me aside and nicely gave me some useful pointers on how to work through my problem. His answer simple write. Didn’t help with the raging battle of conflict I was dealing with, but his kindness did lift my spirits. I am so appreciative that he took the time to soften the blow. I knew to write, but it was holding me back.
A few months ago I handed some old writings of mine to a friend some of its poetry some of its prose. I stopped writing poetry about the time the intensity of the writer’s block started. I had one excuse but she help me get to the bottom of the cause and that was some discouragement that I had obtained from a local poet. That again fed my fears and insecurities.
She encouraged me to pick up my poetry again. I didn’t do it right away I thought about what she said. It helped me to look at the real issue that was keeping me back constant discouragement. At the same time, I got an email from a poetry site that I used to use. Some would call it kismet I call it G-d’s timing. I took a peek at my old account and was astonished that I had a queue of 171 poems, which I had written and forgotten about. This peaked my curiosity what else did I write and forget about?
I scoured all my files both on the cloud and my hard drive. I found another 30 poems and the starts of 10 books. Some more complete than others. I was astonished though my conscious was ignoring my efforts my sub-conscious was finding a way to get itself known even if it would be years for me to discover what it was trying to say!
It encouraged me to pick up poetry again. I will talk in another post about how I feel poetry personally puts the pulse back into my creativity. It frees me to want to work on my prose. I found a way just to write quieting the destructive voice of fear and insecurity.
This is my journey with writer’s block. What my kind acquaintance at the conference said was true write. What I learned from all this if you are a writer at heart and soul even if you are struggling to get your head above water your sub-conscious will find a way out yet if it has to do it without your knowledge for a time. I would also like to mention in my season of self-perceived writer’s block I also wrote hundreds and hundreds of reviews for this blog and other outlets. I was fooling myself; I hope I am finally finding my way out of that.
Writer’s are going to write one way, or another is what I learned, even when we are not paying attention.
In conclusion, this is my personal experience with writer’s block. Writer’s block can happen for many reasons. You could just be stuck in a storyline. You could be lacking inspiration, or it could be as serious as being blocked by some severe mental and emotional trauma.
I had to learn how to fight my own battle with writer’s block. There was no amount of advice that was going to help me until I was ready to face the root issues of holding me back. This may be true for where you are at, but I will share my thoughts anyway.
With that said here is my advice from my experience.
It is true to get over writer’s block just write. If it has to be something as simple as journaling do it. If you are stuck read a good book and write a review. You learn a lot by merely reading others works and writing your reflections. Writing poetry can be an instant gratification that will quickly satiate the hunger of the creative writer. Try your hand at writing articles and submitting them. Start small if you have to work up to your goals. It will help boost your confidence and get you out there. If you’re stuck on what to write about Google writing prompts. There is no shame in that!
Last but certainly not least don’t be shy about connecting with other authors. Ask for advice. If they are rude (like that one author), just ignore it and move on to someone else with a little more compassion. Keep fighting until you get where you want to be!
It’s been said over and over to me lately that the world needs your story and nobody can write it but you! Do whatever it takes to make it happen. Be sure find a way to move in constant forward motion even if it feels like crawling.
I could go on an on about this subject because it has been a critical hindrance to my achieving my writing dreams. I hope this helps.
How do you deal with writer’s block?