How to Get Through a Writer's Block

by IdTakeABulletForYou

To many people, literature in general is a large part of their life. I know
that poetry, to me, is as functional in my body is my legs are... it is just
another limb. To go through a writer's block is as if someone amputated some
physical aspect of you... except in this case it is an emotional aspect of
your body. Writer's block not only affects the literary capabilities of a
person, but many times it also affects the mental, emotional, physical and
even spiritual aspects of your life. Sometimes, talking from my particular
experience, it even takes all motivation away. You become a zombie focused
only on determining why you can't write and pained by the wonderful
opportunities that you are missing to record the past for the future to see.
It's a real painful experience. Anyone who goes through a writer's block
will, in most cases, not be the same when (maybe even if) they recover.

It seems to be a trend... a popular trend that makes everybody go crazy
(although I'm wondering if prior crazy people go sane during writer's
blocks). There are many different opinions, many different proposed ways on
how to deal; the main objective, it is safe to say, is to go back to the way
things were... when writing was easy.


*What is Writer's Block?
*Why do I have a writer's block? (I.E.- When did it start? What caused it?)
*How do I get over my writer's block? (Some Do's and Don'ts)
*How long will it last? Is this permanent?
*Is it only me, or is it common?


1. What is Writer's Block?

Webster's Dictionary says: "an inability to write"

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary says: "a psychological inhibition
preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece"

The American Heritage Dictionary says: A usually temporary psychological
inability to begin or continue work on a piece of writing.

My personal definition of writer's block is: The inability to smoothly or
easily produce self-satisfactory works of literary origins (i.e. prose or
poetry.)

To many people, literature in general is a large part of their life. I know
that poetry, to me, is as functional in my body is my legs are... it is just
another limb. To go through a writer's block is as if someone amputated some
physical aspect of you... except in this case it is an emotional aspect of
your body. Writer's block not only affects the literary capabilities of a
person, but many times it also affects the mental, emotional, physical and
even spiritual aspects of your life. Sometimes, talking from my particular
experience, it even takes all motivation away. You become a zombie focused
only on determining why you can't write and pained by the wonderful
opportunities that you are missing to record the past for the future to see.
It's a real painful experience. Anyone who goes through a writer's block
will, in most cases, not be the same when (maybe even if) they recover.

2. Why Do I Have Writer's Block?
It is important to ask yourself, and to figure out, when your writer's block
(even a vague idea is helpful) began. If you know when it began, and the
events that took place prior to it, then you most likely can have a vague
understanding of what may or may not have caused your writer's block. For
me, my writer's block was caused by a prolonged depression that I still need
to kick out of my system. This started at a very young age, and it is very
difficult to have a complete understanding of the basics of this depression,
and what exactly caused my writer's block. But for some people, all it takes
is to have an event such as the loss of a friend or a loved one (death OR
separation) to trigger a writer's block. The loss of a pet, or even smaller
things, can trigger that. In most cases, it is an event that is followed by
a sustained period of grieving that trigger's writer's block.

3. How Long Will it Last? Is it Permanent?
In my opinion, there are three simple stages of writer's block: minor,
major, and periodic. Believe it or not, the worst is NOT major, but
periodic. Let me describe these for you:

*Minor Writer's Block
Usually not a prolonged occurrence. You temporarily sense that lack of
passion for writing. Although you never actually stop writing, you find that
it has become more difficult to write or the words are not coming that
easily. In many cases, this may be caused by minor depression, but sleep
deprivation is also one of the main causes of this type of writer's block.
Try sleeping early and waking late â with a notebook at hand, as always.

*Major Writer's Block
This is usually a longer period, and you find, very much the same as in
minor writer's block, that you cannot write, or write as easily, as you once
could. In this case, you most likely have trouble writing at all, and this
is caused by a mixture of many different things: Pressure, sleep
deprivation, depression, trauma, etc... It takes much longer to get over
this writer's block than it does to get over a minor writer's block, and it
helps to seek psychological help (or get medicine prescribed by a doctor)
for anything that may be bothering you emotionally... especially if it's
serious. If dealt with correctly, most likely this will fade... but
sometimes, unless you are lucky, if dealt with incorrectly and stubbornly,
you could just extend it and extend it so that it lasts longer than it
should.

*Periodic Writer's Block
In my opinion, this is a very common, serious, complicated, and annoying
type of writer's block. This type of writer's block can be caused by many
things. First of all, it is caused the same way as minor and major writer's
block bouts are caused. On top of those, Periodic Writer's Block can also be
caused by the change of season, incorrectly dealing with major or minor
writer's block, or, sometimes, nothing at all. Periodic writer's block is
simply on and off writer's block. This, in my opinion, is the worse case of
writer's block because often there is nothing at all you can do about it
when it happens besides wait it out... and it's even worse because it comes
back every so often and then leaves. It is possible, and likely, that you
will get over this period of writer's block, but sometimes it's difficult to
pull through... and stubbornness does not help either.

You can get through your writer's block with flying colors. Just try to get
through it on a positive note and it won't be permanent. If you push
yourself to write you will just keep on pushing the end of your writer's
block farther and farther from view. You decide when your writer's block
ends, depending on how you deal with it.


4. How Do I Get Over My Writer's Block? (Some Do's and Don'ts)

*Don't Force Your Writing.
Particularly when you are going through periods of writer's block, you
shouldn't try to force yourself to write in a particular style or on a
particular topic that you don't usually write in or on. It's mentally
exhausting, sometimes pushing you farther away from any hope for recovery
from the writer's block period.

*Do Hang Around People... Get Active.
For some reason, it seems being around nature, being around people... doing
adventurous things... it seems to jog the "Oomph" back into your head. Go on
nature trails, go on hikes, and get in fresh air... Sit by a lake and just
take a nap. Make sure you are caught up on sleep. Make sure that you just do
whatever you can to be outside. Key Words: HAVE FUN!

*Do Seek Psychological Help (or just get medicine)
Many times, writer's block is caused by a serious or tedious... even
extensive period of depression. Not only will anti-depressants help you to
focus more in life, and help you emotionally, physically, mentally, and
spiritually... but it will also help your writing to get back in the loop.
And don't worry, you people who write depressing poetry and dark poetry.
Anti-depressants won't make you write poetry about things such as "Life is
Beautiful" or "Squirrels are our Friends".... anti-depressants are supposed
to ease the emotional pain, not make you artificially happy. Sometimes,
psychologists can help you get through these stages of extreme depression.
Maybe both...

*Do Listen
Not only can this help you get through a writer's block, but it can also
help to improve your writing in general. Listen to people talk, give them
advice. Trust me, nothing feels better than listening to someone's problems,
giving them advice, and hearing them say... "Wow... never thought of it that
way." Listening to other people doesn't mean simply hearing them speak, it
means you actually show interest in what someone else has to say, and being
able to follow-up what they have to say with something helpful, not
degrading. This will help you get friends... people like people who listen.

*Don't MOPE!
Don't look at writer's block as an evil entity that is attacking every inch
of your life, look at it as a break, even a blessing. Writer's block is
basically telling you to step away from the pen and paper and to take a
little time off and do something constructive. Believe it or not, we all DO
need vacations from our hobbies at one point in time. Writer's block is just
an all-expense paid invitation for a vacation. If you reject the invitation
and fight through the time period where you'd be on vacation, trying
stubbornly to write... you'll be less enthused about writing as time
progresses.

*Do Make Use of Music and Lyrics
Sometimes, music is a great medicine to get over writer's blocks. While
you're in a writer's Block, unless you have some other means of venting, you
are keeping all your emotions inside of you. That means, it's important to
find a means of venting. A great way to do this is by listening to music
that relates to the emotions that you are feeling. Sometimes, if a song is
so inspirational to you, then rewrite it on paper by memory and pretend (to
yourself, of course) that it's your own. Be proud of it. (don't post it
online... that would be plagiarism.) Don't go showing it off. On another
thought, sometimes it even helps to write your favorite songs, from memory,
on paper more than once. Soak each word in while you're writing it.

*Do Watch Movies and Read Books
There is nothing better than watching a movie that you love with your whole
heart for the millionth time. Many times, movies will temporarily make your
writing senses come back full throttle... it's up to you to seize the moment
and write, write, write during that writing revelation. This also works with
reading books

*Don't Read Poetry
This suggestion may strike many people as odd, but the worst thing you can
do (other than trying to write) is to read poetry. Writer's Block is meant
for you to take a vacation from writing and do other productive things. This
also means to take a vacation from reading poetry. Prose, such as books and
short stories, are okay during a writer's block (even if it's prose you
can't write)... but unless it is a wonderful poem, or inspirational, you
will get tired from looking at the words, wishing you could write again. It
is, once again, exhausting to read when you can't write. (Of course, this
suggestion is most definitely up for debate.)


5. Is it only me, or is it common?

Writer's block is common. Pretty much anyone who writes maniacally or with
passion will at one point or another in time deal with some sort of writer's
block. Many famous authors nowadays deal with writer's block. Even J.K.
Rowling publicized her writer's block, stating that she "could not find the
words" to write on paper. It is a painful period, and I'm sure that many
people will say the same, but just know that you are not alone at all.




I hope that this article was helpful, and if you are going through a
writer's block, I wish you luck trying to get through it. If something was
or wasn't helpful, or if something was inaccurate, I ask you to please
contact me via private message and state your complaint or problem with
reasoning and civility. I will respond in due time.

This article is based solely upon my own opinion.

Thanks For Reading,
~Stephen White

(I would also like to MAJORLY thank ANN MARIE for her spectacular editing! You ROCK Ann!!!)

Submission date : 2007-05-28
Visits : 7880

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