Back when I was in college, my professor told me writer’s block is not real.
Since then I’ve grappled with that statement — how is writer’s block NOT FREAKIN’ REAL when on numerous (read: approximately one million) occasions I’ve been stuck at my computer or notebook, completely stumped on how or what to write. Sometimes, this, dare I say mental block, lasts for days or even weeks. I desperately hope I’m not the only one.
Now, this is incredibly frustrating, for obvious reasons. It’s fair to say that a lot of my time is spent finding the top tips and tricks and methods to live a productive life. And YET, writer’s block (if you will) is my kryptonite. Having a million and one ideas running through my head without the capacity to get them down on paper is exasperating.
So, the question is — A) Is there a way to get back into the groove, and B) Is this “block” even real?
After doing some trolling around the internet and asking some of my writer friends, I’ve gotten pretty mixed responses, but all in all, the general consensus is “um, well, sort of.”
As Mark Twain says, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
The problem with labeling your frustrations as writer’s block, however, is that in essence you’re just not creating content, while feeding the notion that it’s just “because of a block.” By telling yourself I just can’t do it, is feeding the beast! You’re giving your fears power.
So, this is to say, although it may be incredibly challenging to be paralyzed in the face of “writer’s block,” there is a solution: break your writing down to 10 minute blocks, sketching out some themes, associative words to your piece, and just getting started — even if it seems like the progress is slow.
Since I’ve done some research, I’ve found that working incrementally has been highly effective. I doodle. I write messy and fairly incomprehensive notes. I set my timer. I read in between. And somehow, I’ve managed to get through my block enough to write this piece.
Don’t resign to the notion of writer’s block, my dear friends! You are writers. ALAS.