Writer's block. Hello, old friend.
It's a writer's worst nightmare. We all know about its inconvenience and the unnecessary yet inevitable stress it causes. We've all experienced it at one point or another, but how exactly do we overcome it? Unfortunately, I can't say that I have found the best method because I myself am constantly at odds with the page or screen in front of me. More often than not, I lose the battle. What I can say is that if anything, writer's block can be a sign that it's time to go back to the basics of writing.
We sometimes get so caught up in the deadlines we have to meet and the content we are limited to write and eventually, writing can feel like a chore or a hassle. What's worse is that we put ourselves on autopilot.
As an English major, I've gotten used to the fact that I'm going to analyze a lot of literature and write a lot of detailed papers about said analyzations. Don't get me wrong, I love that I get to spend the majority of my time writing, but sometimes it is true that too much of a good thing can be bad for you. It's easy to forget that it's okay to revert back to simplistic writing and find creative ways to mix up the writing process. That's where free writing can come into play. Writer's block can be a wake-up call telling you that it's time to throw out the rule book and allow yourself to rant for hours on end until you can't write anymore.
At times, the need for perfectionism can get in the way. It can be easier said than done to let all your thoughts spill out on the page. The worst anxiety a writer can receive will stem from run-on sentences and bad grammar. In my experience, discomfort has led me to be too scared to even begin writing in the first place. But sometimes it's through that initial discomfort that one becomes okay with the idea that the first draft doesn't have to be perfect.
It can be pretty nerve-racking to write about whatever comes to your mind because it makes you release your thoughts from the safety of your own mind. But you must make yourself vulnerable to self-critique. Once you've written something down, it's very easy to wonder whether or not it will ever take on a life of its own. Will it ever be worthy of showing someone else? Where do you go from here? Keep in mind, even when you aren't physically writing, you're still coming up with ideas in your mind. Eventually, you have to allow yourself to write those ideas down and give them the chance to become something more.
Going back to the basics can also involve reevaluating when and where you write best. Some people can only write in complete silence and in their room. Others can only write in the early morning, outside on the porch. It's good to experiment with different methods until you find where and when you feel most motivated to write. For me, I find myself writing better late at night. The most ironic part is that something as intimate as writing comes easily when I'm in a noisy or crowded place. All I've got to do is pop in my headphones, blast some music, and go.
In the end, the main takeaway should be this:
If you just start writing without hesitation, the words will come.