ON SECOND THOUGHT – Writer’s Block Doesn’t Have To Be Negative
My mind has always been a very vivid place, a place filled with the brightest colours and endless possibilities. As a kid, I remember transporting myself to different eras and time zones, and although I used to go to those places mainly to kill time, I can’t remember a period in my childhood when I wasn’t a daydreamer. There were just so many things my imagination needed to bring to life and I had no willpower to rein it all in or come back down to earth, so I remained there.
I crafted stories, fairy tales and alternate realities in my mind and whenever I felt the time was right, I’d close the chapter and move on the next one.
At some point, the world in my mind found paper and ink where they could live on forever. I began jotting down plot twists and metaphors into notebooks I’d collected, many of which still live under my bed, and I never put down the pen ever since.
I’ve experienced it all at this point; words that come to you without an invitation, words that were living on the tip of your pen, but decided to escape you before you get the chance to tattoo them on a handy sticky note. Then there are those words that are heavier than others and have to be spat out before they poison your insides, but there are also cold words that flow easily even though they freeze up the entire room. Words can be poignant, powerful and painful yet they’re all on a mission to deliver a message.
But how do you grab the words you need when you’re instantly separated by an unsurmountable wall you can’t climb? How do you fetch water from a river that’s dried out already? How do you give what you do not have?
Yes, that’s exactly what writer’s block feels like.
It is the fifth day on my 7-day blogging challenge to celebrate the second year anniversary of the blog and I’ve been answering your questions relating to blogging thus far and one of you inspired this post. She asked:
How do you deal with writer’s block?
Question by Ada
Every writer knows that feeling. You sit down to write with excitement floating around your mind, you’re ready to crush it, ready to vomit out a thousand words in a few minutes. You’re ready, but, and there’s always a but, you end up with nothing. Absolutely nothing.
It’s the worst feeling in the world to come back empty-handed when you thought there would at least be leftovers, but when writer’s block hits, it doesn’t even leave the scraps. In fact, every little idea you get it trashes before any chance of development and every great piece you’ve ever written becomes the epitome of what you’ll never achieve again.
Writer’s block is the discomfort that makes you hit the backspace button multiple times before you’ve even typed out any words. It’s crafty, devious and it knows all your blind spots to perfection.
So how do you deal with the elephant in the room that doesn’t move despite you’re screaming and shouting? Does any obstacle move by screaming and shouting, eh?
This might sound weird but I feel like one should start by not seeing it as an elephant the room first, but rather an opportunity to change course.
Instead of sitting down staring at a blank page, maybe the answer is in the things that are outside of it.
Daydreaming as a child was often about standing outside the realms of my own life and envisioning something else for the time being. I like to think of writer’s block as that; an opportunity to write down something different in a way I hadn’t thought about yet.
Whenever this happens, I read more books and articles, listen to podcasts and write things that weren’t necessarily related to my unbearable scarcity of words. I often notice that writer’s block hits me most when I’m hiding from the ‘other thing’ I’m avoiding putting into tangible words, and more often than not, once I give voice to the other thing, I find mine again.
Trying to not focus on the negative feelings attached to the current halt in creativity is the key to creating more. However, also get used to knowing when to change the story or when to scrap an idea altogether. Some ideas don’t come to life on paper and maybe they are not meant to at that specific time.
Taking the time I’m stuck as an opportunity to expand my knowledge on other things has been essential whenever I deal with it myself. Also, remember that writer’s block, like almost every other scary thing, doesn’t last forever, you overcame it the last time and you certainly will once more.
Your restless romantic roamer
How do you deal with a creativity rut?
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