05 Nov 2020

6 Causes Of Writer’s Block And How To Destroy It

11 Comments

What are the causes of writer's block?Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, have you enter wondered what are the causes of writer’s block?

You know the feeling. It happens to me sometimes. I sit at the computer screen, staring at it, trying to type the words. I enter a sentence. No, that won’t work. The sentence gets deleted. Then another, and another. The words which normally flow so easily refuse to make the leap from the brain to the digital paper.

Normally, I can write between 5,000 and 10,000 words a day, depending only upon other commitments that require time. That is 10,000 words, ready for publishing. Once in a while though, my productivity drops and I find myself spending a whole day to write a thousand words. It’s frustrating and. since I make my living at writing, if it continues it could create financial problems.

How does writer’s block feel?

Writer’s block can manifest itself in many different ways and at different times. I find it happens to me most often when I have a tight deadline. That’s when I feel that familiar anxiety deep in my stomach. It’s a terrible feeling.

  1. You feel blank. You want to write, but nothing is coming to mind.
  2. You feel sad, anxious, tired or depressed. The words just won’t come.
  3. There’s an immense feeling of frustration and uselessness.
  4. Sometimes it feels like an itch that you can’t scratch. You know you can write, but you just can’t seem to make it happen.
  5. “You feel self-doubt. Like, have you ever been able to write?”
  6. It feels like emptiness.

The Causes of Writer’s Block

There are many causes of this curse. I’ve found a few things over the years which have a negative impact on my writing productivity.

  1. Idiots – Have you ever received a negative comment disguised as something positive? These covert (passive/aggressive) comments can really have a severe impact. A snide remark, a bit of unsolicited “help”, or a few rude comments can act as a torpedo and words to stop flowing.
  2. Failures – A failure outside of writing can have an impact on how well the words can flow. Anything which causes grief, fear, terror, and other unhealthy emotions seems to just stop the creative juices in their tracks. I write best when I am enthusiastic about life or the subject at hand. A failure can certainly cause writer’s block.
  3. Information not understood – Since I am a ghost writer and a technical writer, I run into many circumstances where I have limited understanding of the subject. Non-comprehension stops me dead in my tracks.
  4. Illness – Something about throwing up just makes it difficult to write …
  5. Introversion – By its very nature, writing tends to be very introverting. Sitting in front of a computer screen all day long can create a hypnotic effect, headaches, stomach pains, and other effects. After a few hours at the screen, sometime I find my writing just jams up and the words refuse to flow.
  6. Uninterested – Have you tried to write about something in which you have little to no interest? I’ve written over a hundred technical manuals. Some of them were very exciting, and others were highly technical and of little interest. In fact, I’ve written a few large manuals I knew no one would ever read, but they had to be written for legal reasons. It’s difficult to get motivated to write a hundred thousand words which will be forever collecting dust on a shelf.

How To Overcome Writer’s Block

How do I get over writer’s block? Are there some hidden or secret techniques for overcoming this dreaded malady?

  1. Set a quota – I find that setting a goal, say 5,000 words a day, motivates me to keep the words flowing. For me, it becomes sort of a game: can I meet the quota today in spite of all the interruptions and other demands on my time?
  2. Write every day – Sitting down to write every single day is important for me. Even when I only have an hour to spare due to other plans, I squeeze in the time to write a blog entry, finish that letter to the editor, or reply to a few emails.
  3. Time to write – I set aside “writing time” every single day for writing. Other events, if possible, get planned around that time.
  4. Handle any data not understood – For me, not understanding is one of the biggest problems causing writer’s block. Google is invaluable for researching, and the online dictionary comes in equally handy. One caution: Wikipedia is notoriously inaccurate. I’ve even gone to the effort to block it from my Google searches.
  5. Get up – Every hour or so I get my butt out of the chair and walk around for a few minutes. I check the mail, vacuum, dust, or just look at the bees and wasps buzzing on my deck.
  6. Change it up – I always have several writing projects going at the same time. Occasionally, when I am blocked on one project I switch to another. It’s best to work on a project totally different. This seems to free up a few brain cells and the words start to flow again.

Conclusions

No matter what the cause, writer’s block is something that can be handled and overcome. I’ve found the best way to deal with the syndrome is the simplest – just start writing and keep writing, no matter what happens. Write your heart out and before long you will be writing like crazy.

For more information about writer’s block, see the following articles.

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Donna Brown

Thanks for your informative and helpful information on how to break through the wall known as “writer’s block!” I have found myself in many situations in which I want to write about a topic, yet don’t know how to describe what I want to say. I like your advice about “writing your heart out” as that is our goal as writers to capture the hearts of our readers!

Ma. Lowela Becaro

Very Informative.

Lee Sonogan

Solid article! Here is a list I have written about writer’s block https://ungroovygords.com/2017/04/10/50-ways-to-fight-writers-block/

Crystal

I love your list for beating writer’s block. I suffer from it more then I want to admit!

Lucy Winton

Those last three sentences are brilliant. Thank you for writing them.

Tracey Goodban

Great tips! For me I take a pen and paper and wander outside. Nature is wonderful for helping me to relax, thus destress and there’s some wonderful inspiration out there ?

Sherry

Very good tips! For me #1 is write everyday about ANYTHING! It gets the creative brain warmed up and ideas come flowing. Also, change it up … sometimes a different room or even a drive to a coffee shop to set up the laptop to write helps too! Great article!

Brenda Haire

I can relate! I do some of the same things to overcome it! Three other things I do: 1. I have a writer’s playlist (people can find it on my blog). 2. I’m intentional about getting out of “field trips.” Sometimes I go somewhere book related but just going to lunch with a friend helps. 3. I listen to podcasts for creatives.

Thomas Neil

Thanks for the information, I’ll see if this can help to break up the writing dry spell I’ve been going through

Kathleen L.

Wow! Thanks for sharing this content Richard. I’ll try some change of habit with your tips and solutions above to help me minimise or avoid writers block.

Stevie Turner

Hi Richard. Indies Unlimited sent me. Very informative site. I’ve got a touch of the writer’s block at the moment. I think I’ve written too many novels in a short space of time. Currently looking for inspiration!

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