If you’ve ever had the feelings to write and you aren’t writing, or you started writing but no more because you have no idea what you’re writing then you’ve been plagued with writer’s block, you’ll know it’s not something to joke with — it can inhibit your writing for days, weeks, or even months. And while it’s tempting to just avoid the hardship and hope that it goes away, writer’s block is one of those problems that need effective extermination.
What is writer’s block?
Writer’s block is the state of being unqualified, incapable, and unfit to proceed with writing, and/or the inability to start writing something new. Many believe it’s a natural disorder, while others believe it’s “all in your mind.” Regardless, we can all agree the writer’s block is an agonizing condition that’s often tough to conquer.
The majority don’t have the idea of what stirs up writer’s block. Some believe it is your brain, your mind, and your inability to stay focused. Five broad causes of writer’s block are:
- Absence of external motivation, and internal motivation.
Conversely, writer’s block stems from several feelings of displeasure with the productive act of writing. But these emotions are by no means irreversible! After all, every writer begins with a sense of purpose and passion; defeating writer’s block is about getting those feelings back.
There’s a terrible desecrator, lying low behind writer’s block. It’s Fear! This four-letter word depicts a condition we don’t like to disclose to anyone, even ourselves. There is an atom of fear inside everyone, it varies and if we are not created to fear, we will overexpose or minds to destruction.
Fear influences us all more than we care to acknowledge, and it’s particularly insidious for writers, poets, columnists, novelists, and everyone else involved in the writing. You see, writing online is one of those actions where you expose yourself to the world, and the critics are always waiting to be encountered.
Most fear functions at the subconscious level and manifests itself in the form of excuse, delay, procrastination, and writer’s block. We want to write that story or book, start that popular blog, strike the screen to motivate, release that article or white paper that strengthens our career opportunities… and yet we keep killing the potential.
I don’t like to spend my time on regret, because, well, it’s a scrap. But looking back, I see I’ve ruined so much time in my writing life because I let fear hold me back.
And the truth is, every time I have the zeal to write, I gain more energy, I begin nailing things down, I push myself in a new direction, I’m still frightened. I don’t think I can continue doing it, I don’t have the idea anymore. What I write is full of trash.
The solution is to not let it stop you.
Comparing yourself, ourselves, to others allows them to steer our behavior and momentum. This type of comparison is between you and someone else (be it writer, poet, motivator, novelist, columnist, etc). Sometimes it’s about something inborn, like wishing to be fat but not thin, wishing to write as he has written but not better than his. More often, it’s about something the other person is capable of doing that we wish we could do as well but not perfecting it. Maybe ‘your friend’ writes better summaries than you, and maybe ‘your close friend’ has a happier relationship with his wife than you do. Sometimes this comparison is motivating and propelling but sometimes it’s destructive.
You can be anything but you can’t be everything you wish for. When we compare ourselves to others, we’re often comparing their best features against our average ones without following it with something good and better. It’s like just starting a headline, and your friend had a jaw-dropping headline. It’s like being right-handed and trying to throw a stone afar with your left hand. Not only do we inherently want to be better than them, the careless realization that we do not often become self-destructive.
Comparisons between society are a recipe for unhappiness unless you are the most outstanding in the world. Not only are we desperate but other people are as well. They are perhaps comparing themselves to you maybe you’re better at writing poems, novels, and networking than they are and they’re jealous. At worst, when we compare ourselves to others we end up pointing our energy towards bringing them down instead of raising ourselves up.
Absence of External and Internal Motivation
When you write for the pure enjoyment of your craft, you are doing so because you are inherently and internally motivated. Your motivations for committing in the behavior (writing, cooking, networking) arise totally from within rather than out of a desire to gain some type of external compensations such as praise, attention, etc.
Internal motivation can give you a sense of development when you see that your work is accomplishing something positive or competence when you do something that helps people or become more skilled at your task, or even able to tell your story.
When external motivations are nonexistent, you tend to be extremely depressed to continue with your craft, your love for the craft fades and you begin regretting the reason you started in the initial stage. External motivations can be compliments, people comments on your work, their attention, etc. When all this is missing you are blocked from the love you developed for your craft. This means you are chasing results but not development and accomplishment.
Fear among others is the main element that spices up writer’s block. So, next time, we will make a free trip towards getting to know the major ways fear holds us back as writers, with periodic tips for looking fear in the face and sitting down to work. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, it’s doing what needs to be done despite setbacks and disappointment from fear.
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