11 Feb 2018

Writers block and what to do about it

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Have you ever had writers 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.

The Causes of writers 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.

Idiots – Have you ever received a negative comment disguised as something positive? These covert comments can really have a severe impact. A snide remark, a but of unsolicited “help”, or a few rude comments can act as a torpedo and words to stop flowing.

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 writers block.

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.

Illness – Something about throwing up just makes it difficult to write …

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.

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.

Solutions for writers block

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

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?

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.

Time to write – I set aside “writing time” every single day for writing. Other events, if possible, get planned around that time.

Handle any data not understood – For me, not understanding is one of the biggest problems causing writers 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.

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.

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 writers block, see the following articles.

Richard Lowe Jr

Richard Lowe Jr

Owner & Senior Writer, Copywriter, Ghostwriter, WordPress Implementation at The Writing King
Richard is the Owner and Senior Writer for The Writing King, a bestselling author, and ghostwriter. He's written and published 63 books, ghostwritten 16 books, as well as hundreds of blog articles.
Richard Lowe Jr

@richardlowejr

Author of Focus on LinkedIn, Safe Computing, Surviving Disasters, Help! My Boss is Whacko!, Insider Secrets from a Professional Ghostwriter and many others
Richard Lowe Jr
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Stevie Turner
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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!