Perhaps writer’s block is the one thing that connects writers, both celebrity and first-time writers across international boundaries and language barriers. Writer’s block is not a myth. It is a reality for an author, when words and ideas refuse to cooperate and the writer is left looking at a blank screen, the cursor flickering temptingly, but ideas and words escape you. Many authors face the anguish that follows having nothing to write and not knowing what to do. Writer’s block has plagued many, including famous authors.
What is writer’s block?
Writer’s block is that dreadful feeling that writers get when it seems the words have stopped flowing. This is a passing phase and will pass, for you too.
If you are a writer and things were going well for you till recently but of late you have started to experience that words are not flowing any more. When earlier they was a flood but now, not even a trickle. Fear not, in all probability you are experiencing the dreaded writer’s block. The good news is you’re not alone. Most authors experience the writer’s block at least once if not more number of times, in their writing career.
What is writer’s block meaning?
When words and creative juices fail a writer and he is not able to move his story forward. This is a temporary phase in the life of a writer.
Probably the worst part of a writer’s block isn’t just the lack of creative juices but the uncertainty of ‘what to do when you have writer’s block’ and ‘when it will come to an end.’ Writer’s blocks can last a day or go on for weeks. Some writers have even gone without writing for months! How does one even overcome such a situation? Surely it can not just be about “roughing it out and giving it more time?” what to do when you have writer’s block
What to do when you have writer’s block?
• Forget about writing for a while, focus your attention on your other hobbies or work.
• Pack up your writing, go for a walk – fresh air helps clear your head.
• Spend time chatting and socializing with friends and family.
• Read interesting books, magazines
• In short take your mind away from writing and immerse yourself in something you enjoy.
• Relax and don’t obsess about how good the manuscript is going to be. Sometimes it’s the immense expectation or worries over your manuscript that leads to a writer’s block.
What Celebrity Authors do When they have Writer’s Bloc?
- GO OUTSIDE
When staring at your computer becomes too much it is better to leave than to sit there unblinkingly. Go for a walk or take a trek. If not, just make a nice cup of tea and let some fresh air in. It’s not that the outside world is some kind of magical hub that will magically make writing blocks vanish into thin air. But, all these steps for “what to do when you have the writer’s block” are an attempt to help you clear out your mind and start afresh and give you a change of scene.
- The award-winning author Hillary Mantel, the writer of the book Wolf Hall offers similar advice on how to overcome writer’s block. She focuses on being patient and letting the words come to you. Stressing out has never been fun for anyone.
“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, a bath, sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.”
- THE JUST WRITE STRATEGY
What if I told you that the answer to bringing your writer’s block to an end is to simply write? Sounds weird, right? But no, hear me out. For many authors, writing is like any other activity or sport- the more you practice, the better you become. Get a pen and paper and try going traditional, or use the plain-old tablet. Whatever you do, focus on writing something. Something simple, ‘simple’ can be describing the pen you are working with.
- Writer Maya Angelou, who authored the book I Know Why the Caged Birds Sings, confessed that her way of how to overcome writer’s block is to write every day, no matter how awful the final product is. She says,
“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.”
- TO JUST READ
Writing when this massive blockage hinders all your ideas and words is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some authors prefer to give their minds a rest and take it slow. Reading your favorite authors or flipping through a magazine can actually be a great way to motivate yourself and find inspiration.
- Jhumpa Lahiri, the author of the famous book The Namesake has a similar understanding of how to overcome writer’s block . Her words are not just advice but a way of showcasing solidarity with all authors across.
“I think a lot of what people refer to as “the writer’s block” is the period during which ideas gestate in the mind, when a story grows but isn’t necessarily being written in sentences on the page. But it’s all necessary, in the end. If I am feeling stuck or uninspired, I usually take a break and read. That always gets me going again.”
- IF NOTHING WORKS, THEN JUST READ YOUR WORK
Rereading your work can be a motivational factor. Imagine the effort you put into all your sentences just a few weeks ago and now. You’re definitely capable of producing the same kind of work, start believing in yourself. Grab your manuscript and start editing because that’s progress too!
The famous author Neil Gaiman says the same. You don’t have to start immediately, give yourself a few days but soon, you’ll be there.
“Put it [your writing] aside for a few days, or longer, do other things, try not to think about it. Then sit down and read it (printouts are best I find, but that’s just me) as if you’ve never seen it before. Start at the beginning. Scribble on the manuscript as you go if you see anything you want to change. And often, when you get to the end you’ll be both enthusiastic about it and know what the next few words are. And you do it all one word at a time.”
- OR…. Is The WRITER’S BLOCK JUST A SIGNAL?
For some writers, writer’s block is an indication of a misstep. You’ve chosen the wrong words or your plot is heading in the wrong direction. Or maybe that is not it at all. Perhaps the only reason you don’t wish to work on a project is because you don’t feel anything towards it.
- Charlainne Harris the author of the book series The Southern Vampire Mysteries, has a similar take on the problem. Usually the answer to how to fix writer’s block is present on the inside.
“I think writer’s block is a way the brain has of telling you you’ve taken a false step. I think you need to wait a day or two, then start reading your work from the beginning, and the false step should become apparent.”
- The writer’s block can seem like a terrible problem. It’s exhausting and the sense of failure and the fear of losing your skill that accompanies it are unparalleled. But writer’s block, like all other tough times, don’t last. You will start writing again, giving your piece all your creative output. The next time you face how to fix writer’s block, read this blog, get inspired by the advice of famous authors or use tips to get your creative juices flowing again.
Read these blogs while you wait to get your mojo back.