How to Overcome Writer’s Block

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a type writer and open a vein.”
– Red Smith

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Writer’s block. This can be a death sentence for some writers. You cannot imagine how easy it can be to become “blocked.” You can become blocked for several reasons, including stress, being uninspired, lacking ideas, and lack of time.

It can be hard to come out of writer’s block when you find yourself there. I found myself here when I first started college. I had no time to write and I was stressed out from my classes. When I did want to write in college, I didn’t have the time and this frustrated me, which sent me further into writer’s block. I didn’t write for two years. Not a single word.

Before college, you couldn’t stop me from writing. Every chance I got, I was at my computer typing away. It was hard to finally bring myself out of this slump I had gotten myself into.

There are many reasons for someone to get writer’s block. So, for today’s post, we will talk about the causes of writer’s block and their treatments.

“It’s hell writing and it’s hell not writing. The only tolerable state is having just written.”
– Robert Hass

Stress

This was the number one reason why I got writer’s block. I had a lot on my mind while in my first year of college. I had homework the size of Mount Everest, six quizzes every week, and intermittent exams. In my first two years as a student, I was learning how to be organized and understand time management, which took me a while to master. After those two years, I finally had it down, which brings me to the treatment for this type/cause of writer’s block. Organize your life as much as possible. This will significantly reduce stress and help you make time to write.

There are many other stress factors in a person’s life. For example, money, relationship problems, work-related issues, and, more recently, Covid-19.

These are the hardest and most stressful things to deal with that are, most of the time, out of our control. The best we can do with these problems is to manage them. We need to not let these become the center of our lives unless it is a critical situation.

Everyone needs a break every once and a while, whether from work, school, or home. To minimize stress, you need to do what you love to do and do what will take your mind off the problem that you are experiencing. For example, a nature walk, meditation, reading a book, or drawing. I would not recommend video games, television, or YouTube in this case. I found that when I try to relax and do these things, it stresses me out more, because afterwards, I feel like I have wasted my time. I didn’t get to relax. I was captivated by the glowing screen and I could watch it for several more days.

“If you shut your door against the children for an hour a day and say: ‘Mother is working on her five-act tragedy in blank verse!’ you would be surprised how they would respect you. They would probably all become playwrights.”
– Brenda Ueland

Uninspired

After my first year in college, I overcame my stress of homework and exams, but then I had another writer’s block symptom. I was uninspired.
I didn’t feel like writing anymore. I was so tired after completing my homework that I had nothing when I finally sat down to write. I didn’t want to write because I didn’t feel anything. I couldn’t remember the specific reason for my love of writing. For half of the semester, I sat back in my chair and stared at a blank screen.

Halfway through that semester, I became frustrated. I wanted to write, but I just didn’t feel like I had anything left in me, so I devised a plan. I worked ahead an extra week on my assignments and I gave myself two days to do what I wanted to do, even though I could not write. I went out and explored and took some pictures. By the second day, I found myself sitting on a sand bar near a creek in my hometown. After that, I walked downstream and kept taking pictures. That is when I came across the most beautiful Sycamore tree. It was one of the biggest I had ever seen. That was my inspiration. Suddenly I started thinking about a story that involved a large Sycamore tree like this one. I thought about the story behind it and its meaning. I had done it, I became inspired and I was able to write again.

“Write quickly and you will never write well; write well, and you will soon write quickly.”
– Marcus Fabius Quintilianus

No Ideas

When I first started writing again after college, I found it excessively hard to come up with things to write about. To solve this, I started searching for writing prompts. Most of them I did not like and they didn’t help, but certain ones gave me some ideas. Everyone is different; some can get ideas easier than others through writing prompts and some need to find their own inspiration so that they come up with their own story.

My advice is to try writing prompts and if they do not work, then you need to find what inspires you and stick around it for a while. Your inspiration will give you what you are looking for, even if it is not right away.

I would also recommend doing what Hemingway did. He used to carry around a small notebook and write down things that interested him or things that he thought he could use in a story one day.

“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”
– Douglas Adams

Lack of Time

I struggled with the problem of no time for writing, but I overcame this by working on my time management skills. If you find yourself pressed for time all the time, you need to create a schedule for yourself and stick to it.

Writers need to have time to write or there will be no writing.

“Life is what happens to a writer between drafts.”
– Damon Miller

Summary of Causes and Cures:

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Cause of Writer’s Block Treatment
Stress Organize your life as much as possible. Find out what relaxes you and do it. However, I would recommend staying away from screen time. This can sometimes cause stress because of social media and news. Also, for certain people screen time doesn’t allow them to relax.
Uninspired You need to take your mind off writing for a while. You have become burnt out. You need to rediscover what really inspires you. Take a walk and look around while doing your daily activities. Think about what you love doing. Relax and look around. If you can, take a trip (near or far) and rediscover yourself and what you love doing.
No Ideas When you don’t have ideas it means that you aren’t inspired. Find something or someone that inspires you. If nature inspires you, go there and explore. If people inspire you, talk to them. They’ll give you inspiration and ideas, whether it is an idea for an entire novel or an idea for a character. Also, carry around a small notebook, so that you can write things down that you might be able to use in a story.
Lack of Time A writer needs time to write. Time management skills are essential in keeping time. It is important to organize your time and use it wisely. Create a schedule and stick to it. At the very least, set aside a few hours a week or an hour a day. Learn to manage your time.

Overcoming writer’s block is one of the hardest things a writer can do, besides writing a great story. I hope you found this post useful and that it helps you overcome your writer’s block. Don’t forget to leave a comment down below!

Need some more help? Check these out!

20 Tips for Writer’s Block

Writing Prompts

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