Okay, sorry about the title of this post, but I just had to do it. 🙂
Writer’s block. Those moments, hours, and days that sometimes stretch on for months.
It seems like the creative juices have just stopped flowing; sometimes suddenly.
It seems like the love for the characters that you once yearned to spend time with has all but died out.
It seems like it’s impossible to think of one more story, one more plot, one more objective or twist, or even one more line of dialog.
It seems like the passion has gone. And when the passion dies, the words die.
But what caused this sudden, frustrating bout of the mind versus the written word?
Writer’s block is not just sitting at the computer, staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page. It’s an attitude.
Most of the time, writer’s block is caused by self-doubt. It creeps in and takes over, pushing away all that we’ve created, all that we are passionate about, and instead breeds discouragement, anger, resentment, and the inability to take pride in our work.
The plot isn’t good enough. The characters aren’t identifiable enough. The objective isn’t clear. The dialog is flat. I just can’t think of anything else. I don’t know how to make it work. I’m not good enough.
But self-doubt can be beaten. Self-doubt can be overcome. Self-doubt can be destroyed.
In order to let go of the self-doubt, you have to:
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Remember that you are an individual, created for a whole, defining, other-worldly purpose by the Creator who values everything that you do.
Remember why you started.
What sparked the passion in you? Get back to it. Remember the excitement you had when you first started, remember the reasons, grab hold of them, and let them release you from discouragement.
Get excited about something else.
Not loving what you are working on? Start something new, work on it for a while, and come back to your first project at a later time. Letting it sit will allow you to have a fresh attitude when you look at it later.
Release the pressure.
Aim for completing a novel, not the novel. If you happen to realize afterward that you’ve created the next great classic, good for you. But don’t set that as your goal in the beginning.
Watch your favorite movie. Read your favorite book. Listen to your favorite song. What is it about these pieces of art that speaks to you? What is it that stimulates and motivates you? Find it, use it.
Take a break.
If you’ve been working excessively, you need one. Minds, like bodies, get tired and need to rest. Chocolate always helps.
On the other hand, if you’ve been avoiding your project, get in there and get busy. As many will say, writing horrible, awful sentences is still writing. Get something on the page and worry about perfecting it later.
Be your own cheerleader.
Read something that you’ve written that you really, really love. It might be a completed work, or it might be a paragraph, or just one, amazingly perfect sentence. Whatever it is, read it and revel in the reality that you created it. Give yourself a pat on the back.
Writer’s block is not a lack of words; it’s a lack of self-confidence to write the words. To overcome it, you have to let go of your own purposes and see God’s purposes revealed in you. When you overcome the self-doubt and realize that you are a child of God, anything is possible.
*While this post is about writing, it can be applied to any creative format, really.
Share with me: How do you fight self-doubt in your life? Have you ever had writer’s block, or just “creative block?” How did you get rid of it?