Writer’s Block: when your imaginary friends refuse to talk to you.Above found on Pinterest with no credits given.
*chuckles* Why is this so perfect?
Writers block is a huge topic discussed between authors. Some say that writers block is an imaginary hindrance that does not truly exist. Some believe it is a psychological block when we fear being judged. Others argue that it is a problem directly involved with lack of creativity.
If I am allowed to put in my twopence, I believe that writers block is a mix of all the things above. That it is a psychological block, a creativity block, and at the same time an imaginary hindrance that does not exist.
You must be wondering: how can it be both real and imaginary? How is it both a psychological problem and a creative problem? Let me fully explain myself.
Writer’s Block – What Is It?
Writers block, from a psychological point of view, is a mental hindrance you put upon yourself in order to save yourself, or your book, from judgement or imperfection (because no 1st draft is perfect – let’s all agree on that). It is a sort of mental caution tape. Warning of the possibilities ahead, yet not entirely unsurpassable. Like caution tape, you can decide to move past it if you want (though I don’t recommend moving caution tape in real life!!).
When you adhere to this mental block, caused by fear, you can begin shrinking in on yourself. Fearing judgement or striving for a perfect manuscript will make your creative juices stop flowing. So even when you are not constantly thinking of being judged, you will not be able to accomplish much. But, just like earlier, you can still chose to move that caution tape (not real caution tape, though, right? we agree on that?).
In this sense, writers block can be both real and imaginary. It is a very real occurrence with all writers, but all writers have the choice to step across the line into the world of judgement.
Get Those Creative Juices Flowing
So I have now explained to you how writers block is so very complex yet so simple to beat. It is only a mind game.
But Ari, you must be thinking, what about those times when I’m just stuck?
Believe me, I know exactly how you feel. I get these kinds of creativity blocks all the time. Its sometimes random, and sometimes it happens at a scene that I was dreading writing, for various reasons. So when this happens, I turn my creative energy towards something else that I love doing.
Painting is my favorite thing to do, right underneath writing. I’m not very good, but I love creating scenes from my book, characters, or things unrelated to writing (who knew there could be something fun that wasn’t always related to writing!?).
When I paint, I listen to music and let my mind wander. Oftentimes this helps me think out my difficult scenes, further develop my characters, or fill plot holes. And sometimes it just helps to be creative in a different field than normal. I’m not sure why, but after painting for a while I can come back to my manuscript and have a clear mind about what I need to focus on.
But it doesn’t always have to be painting that helps me release my creativity. Sometimes, reading will do the trick too. I’ll go into our library, chose a book in the genre I’m writing (or just an awesome book), and start reading. Sooner or later, I begin thinking over how the writer could have changed this or that. When that happens, I know I’m escaping my creative block, and quickly fall back to my waiting manuscript.
Other things I do to escape writer’s block are: taking walks, singing, being outside, coloring, and watching a good show. I know that doesn’t sound too creative, but I’ve found that watching something helps me think through dialogue, plot lines, foreshadowing, and interactions between characters. It has to be intentional watching, though, because otherwise it does no good!
I hope you found this insightful and helpful to your writing journey. Tell me what you do to escape those moments of lack of creativity in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more, sign up for my newsletter here. Thanks for coming over, and have a lovely week!
– Ari D.