Everyone (and I’m using the term “everyone” loosely here because I can’t exactly speak for us all) has their strong suit. For me, that suit comes in the form of writing. I guess you can say that writing is “my thing.” It has always come naturally to me and I genuinely enjoy doing it. Unfortunately, though, this does not go without saying that I too suffer from writer’s block every so often. In fact, as I’m sitting at this laptop typing away these words (word-count at 84 so far in case anyone was wondering), I’m not exactly sure where I’m going with this or what I should even write. Probably not the best idea to write an article about writer’s block as I’m suffering from it, but here we go.
Let’s see, what can I do to combat my inability to form ideas? Resort to old methods? Why not.
Old (cheesy) method number one is to define what you’re going to be writing about.
For those of you who don’t know, writer’s block is “the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing,” (thanks Webster). In simpler terms, it’s one of the worst things that a writer can experience. You want so badly to be able to put words to paper, but all that you end up accomplishing is staring at a blank screen for several hours (and then at your palms, since at this point, you’re likely to have your head resting in them). The ideas simply will not flow. You thought that this would be a piece of cake—you even thought you had some good ideas before! But joke’s on you because is your brain going to allow you to access those golden thoughts? Nope. It’s got them all locked away somewhere far and unreachable. And now here you are, ready to pull your hair out because this should be easy, right? Nope again. This is going to be painstaking.
And just when you’re ready to throw in the towel and try again tomorrow (if you have time for that), then comes the glimmer of hope: an idea pops into your head. You rush to write it down before it goes away. Maybe you get a sentence down — maybe even two sentences! Then, poof. Say bye to wherever you thought you were going with that idea. Because even though you thought you had something good there, your brain has decided to lock it away with the rest of your golden thoughts.
Now here you are, back at square one. You start doubting that what you’ve written (which isn’t much) is even as good as you thought it was when it came to you like a blessing. Should you just delete it all? You’re unsure, but you decide to keep it anyway. Just try to expand on what you’ve written and hope that works out. Too late to go back now; what you’ve written is the first good idea that’s come to you in hours. Just keep it. Just. Keep. It.
Close your laptop. Let your brain rest for 15 minutes. Come back to it. Realize that it’s not so bad and decide to roll with it. I wish I could say that the block goes away after working on a piece for a while, but (at least for me) it sticks around up until the very end. The ideas come in random bursts of words or sentences, but they never fully form or stick long enough for you to write anything substantial.
And because I’m suffering from writer’s block as I’m typing this, I’m struggling with a way to conclude. In true writer’s block fashion, I will simply end this here. To anyone who is also suffering this terrible fate, I wish you good luck. Hang in there — the ideas will come (eventually).