I don’t believe in writer’s block.
There, I said it.
It’s probably an unpopular opinion, as I know many writers agonize over it, but I don’t believe in such a thing. I don’t believe that writers are randomly incapable of writing. That we’re hindered from producing any words. That we are blocked, as though a 1000-lb curtain covers all ideas and thoughts and we can’t lift it.
Of course, there are times when we may not be in the mood to write. When we may not produce good words, but I don’t believe in the idea that writers are creatively blocked from producing any new words.
I believe in a lack of motivation.
Sometimes, it’s hard to stay motivated. To write day after day, especially when you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere. There are so many days when I don’t feel like writing. When I’d rather do anything else – even laundry. I’ve said it before, sometimes it’s simply easier not to write. Not to chase your dreams. Not to expend the energy needed to do so. Because it’s easier to simply watch TV. It’s easier not to have to deal with the possible disappointment.
It’s harder to get up and put in the hard work that’s necessary. It’s hard to find the motivation to do it, but just know – you’re worth it. You’re worth investing in. You deserve it. And it takes a lot of energy and willpower to sit down and write when you’re feeling down.
But it’s worth it.
Once I find that small spark buried underneath self-doubt and anxiety, I light the flame so it shines brighter and brighter with every word I write. Once I start, the words get easier to produce. They flow out of me more easily, and I get excited to the point where I don’t want to stop. To the point where I’m wondering why it was so difficult to get motivated in the first place. You just have to dive in.
Other than the lack of motivation, I believe in struggling to come up with an interesting plot twist, character, etc.
We all hit a wall at times. We get stuck. I’ve gotten stuck several times with many of my stories and not knowing how to proceed. Some authors I’ve heard and read about have said they don’t force it. They don’t “write through the block” because that ends up hurting the story, and the block worsens.
I don’t believe in forcing the words, per se. I think there are other ways around this, though. When I don’t know how to continue the story, I move on to something else. Sometimes I even just write a different scene from that story and see how that plays out. Other times, when I burned out from the same story like I mentioned a couple posts ago, I work on something else.
Sometimes we just need distance from the piece to figure out how we want to tackle it. We need perspective, a fresh look at the same story we’ve been working on for months. It’s natural to get burned out. That’s not writer’s block – that’s being tired of the work. But when you focus your energy on something else, it might get you excited for your previous work. It does for me anyway.
I believe in distractions.
As I said before, I’ve been particularly distracted lately with our big move to Texas from Missouri. There are so many things to see and do that I’m not used to, so I’ve been distracted.
On top of that, I’ve been looking for a job and fixing problems with our apartment (finally good to go!). I’ve been dealing with my dog’s anxiety issues that keep me up at night. And I could keep going.
There are always other things to do. Life will always get in the way and distract you from your goals, especially with writing. When there’s too much going on for me, I find it hard to concentrate, which can then be described by some people as writer’s block. To me, I’m just distracted.
Lastly, I believe in fear.
A lot of writer’s block can be described as fear. Fear of judgment and not meeting expectations. Fear of the work not being “good,” even though drafts are rarely ever good, so the fear of failing keeps you from writing. You can’t lose if you don’t play the game, right?
What’s more is the fear of the words on the page being too honest and raw and ugly, not accepting that that’s why the words are also so beautiful.
There’s a lot to be afraid of when you write. You’re not just putting words out into the ether. You’re putting your soul onto the page, giving readers glimpses of who you are.
And that can be (IS) terrifying.
That fear can be so terrifying that it makes you not want to write at all, so you don’t.
Then you blame it on writer’s block and never write a word. You never tell your story that so desperately wants to be told. You repress it and deprive the world of your words.
The thing about writer’s block is that it’s an excuse. That’s how I feel about. It’s an excuse for writers not to write. For us not to do what we love doing the most because of one or all of the things I listed above. Because there are many ways around writer’s block. It might be gruesome and exhausting to write when we don’t want to. When we have so many other obligations and underlying insecurities.
But at the end of the day, we’re depriving ourselves and the world of this passion. Of this ability to share with people our truths. When we share our writing, that’s what we do – we share our truths in hopes of finding some sort of peace for ourselves but also to help others in some way, whether that’s to entertain, inform, or other.
And when we use writer’s block as an excuse not to do so, well… that’s just tragic, isn’t it?
So be brave, be focused, and be confident enough to prioritize your writing, or whatever your equivalent scenario might be. Don’t make excuses. Don’t wait. Don’t be afraid.
Believe in yourself and your abilities to make the world a better place.