Writer's block. The fog of the mind. A creative idea locked in a cage without a key. So, the question is, how do we unlock that key? Is there ever a key? The truth is no, for as long as we write, this phenomenon will always plague our minds. Sometimes it will last minutes, other times hours, most times days, before ultimately taking a backseat. Then a spark will free us until the next battle to arrive on the horizon.
The only way to overcome this creative head cold is to understand that it inevitably occurs to all of us.Even the most celebrated writers in history have experienced the pain of wanting to pull your hair out at each paragraph. Deleted or trashed pieces of glimmering gold. Or the worst of them all, trying to strangle the blank page. Today, most writers turn to prompts, exercises, and various other techniques to unclog the clutter of their creative genius. While these tactics are helpful and temporarily beat writer's block, there are no long-term solutions to dissolve this enigma completely.Placing a writer in these techniques will allow the writer to write. However, it doesn't necessarily mean the writer is progressing towards their goals. For example, if you are writing a story about a pirate and can't get the pirate's ship to move towards land. How is writing about an experience with your dog, going to forward the story you are currently tinkering with currently?
The only solution to writer's block is to understand that it occurs in all writers and that it is a battle from within. Writer's block stems typically from self-doubt, performance anxiety, competitive nature, and our innate fear of failure. When one removes themselves from the task of writing, it ceases to exist until once again; you stare at the page sat in front of you. So, I suggest, to try a different avenue from the prompts, tasks, goals, and forced writings that chain us to a structure.
Read. Read books about the craft. Soak in how all your favorite writers attack writer's block. Head to the store and pick up a book of fiction, or whatever genre you are exploring and let your imagination recharge its batteries. Go for a walk to clear your mind, take a pad and pen with you to write down what you are experiencing at the moment. Meditate on your thoughts. If all this fails, walk away and let the inspiration find you. Writing should not be forced into existence; writing should be a joy. Bad stories are from those who write from the mind, not the heart. So, if you are feeling blocked up top, write from that thing thumping in your chest.
For some motivation, here are some quotes about the craft and writer's block:
"I think 'writer's block' is a natural part of the process for almost all writers." Jhumpa Lahiri in an interview for The Times.
"I think new writers are too worried that it has all been said before. Sure it has, but not by you." – Asha Dornfest
"Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on." – Louis L' Amour
"I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles." – Shannon Hale
"Don't forget — no one else sees the world the way you do. So no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell." – Charles de Lint
"Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up." – Jane Yolen
"The thing you are most afraid to write. Write that." – anonymous
"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit." – Richard Bach
"Stopping a piece of work just because it's hard, either emotionally or imaginatively is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it & sometimes, you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing to do is shovel shit from a sitting position." – Stephen King