Writing a single sentence after typing this title was difficult. May be they call this “Writer’s Block.” I don’t know, but I do know that I can explain this phenomenon and ways to combat it.
Writer’s Block: A state in which a writer becomes incapacitated to produce anything of value.
Or she likes to believe so.
Anyone who calls herself a writer knows this: “I can’t write even a single sentence, it’s just not happening.”
This romantic feeling when a writer is on a day off, on purpose to deal with this, and can’t produce something which she thinks would be “creative enough” to write. Hence, she decides not to write. Or she is compelled not to write. (There maybe some supernatural forces, as they say, stopping herself from hitting the keys of her laptop. Or maybe, who knows, Microsoft Word in her laptop, suddenly, stops supporting her to translate her thoughts into a readable language.)
What I know from my experiences as a writer, and most importantly, as a human being is that this feeling is just someone gassing. This is literally bullshit. There’s no escaping from the laziness of an artist; a writer is no exception to this.
You must have guessed it that I think that writer’s block is a state of being that is romanticized a lot and has become a norm. Anything of that sort is closely linked with and has roots in a myth. So, we’re going to learn about it further in the next section, in particular the two biggest myths about writer’s block, and ways to overcome the same.
Myth 1. As a writer, I should feel “creative enough” to write.
No sir. No ma’am.
Who defines the degree of that creativity? Who will analyze those creative juices and declare that our analysis says: Today you must write? There’s no such thing as being “creative enough” to write.
Any writer must understand the mechanics of writing. Before that actually, they must understand that it’s a daily job. Respect it. If you’re not doing it, you’re not true to yourself.
Imagine, in your office, a staff stops washing dishes just because today she isn’t feeling “creative enough” to do so. A rebuttal to this argument, which I often get, is: But this job is too mechanical. Yes, you’re right. So is writing. There are tools and techniques involved in writing, and if you lack them then educate yourself. Don’t fool around and blame it on the stars of creativity to bless you so that you can put ink to the paper!
Myth 2. “Whatever I will be creating will not be of much value.”
You know that the world has enough material for anyone to read, learn and grow. Then why must you write? Because each person who has walked on this planet has contributed to it, in one way or the other. Your bit counts as well.
Don’t get into the self-critical mode that you’ll be judged with what you produce. But, hey, we get judged anyway! So, just write.
Secondly, who approves and provides validation? The primer for this “validation game” is in itself a distasteful thing.
Then, what should I do?
But there’s one thing you must make a barometer for validation, when it comes to the period of writer’s block you’re facing: Write for yourself, and save your work. Don’t throw it away yet.
The moment you think that you’re in your senses, and in control of your craft to rework on “those pieces;” pick them up, laugh at your own mistakes, work on it again, polish the text and publish it.
Two Lessons to Overcome Writer’s Block
- Don’t get into the trap of a self-attracted state of ineffectiveness. Write every day. (Note: Not saying publish every day, there’s a difference.)
- Don’t be prey to the trap of validation. To avoid it, save your material (and protect yourself from unwarranted and demotivating judgments). Revisit, rework and publish your work. But write.
You should write. We all must write. Create, write and publish nonsense; but for heaven’s sake: Do it. (Because you’ll never be perfect until and unless you start doing it.)
PS: I hope these commandments help you write and overcome writer’s block. If you like it, spread it across and let your friend stuck with writer’s block read this.