Many, including myself, have fallen victim to the age old adversary of the author: Writer’s Block. It’s a nasty bug, inhibits the creative process, however, would you think me crazy if I said to you that such a thing doesn’t exist? Or at least, not as we think it might?
I used to believe that Writer’s Block was that sudden spell that fell over me, where I just couldn’t produce a new idea, or at least any good ones and went through an either short or long period of low productivity. Simply put, I felt uninspired, worn out, and so I stopped writing for a while. Little did I know, I was still participating in the creative process subconsciously. So, here are a few thoughts and things I do to combat this issue:
1. It doesn’t exist, at least not for many artists. (No, I’m not kidding.)
2. Just because you’re in a funk, it doesn’t mean you have writer’s block. Sometimes, the creative juices just dry up, but not because you’re brain’s suddenly decided to mutiny. It simply needs time to recharge.
3. So, what’s there to do when there’s no writing to be done? Well, when you can’t come up with new ideas, there’s always the option of going back to other works of your genius to edit, especially after your brain’s had some time apart from them. This’ll keep you working and keep your brain from really atrophying into mush, as well as reveal to you common errors that you’re guilty of, and just didn’t notice in the heat of the writing moment.
4. Be a bit lazy, it helps. Really. I ain’t lying. Watch TV, watch movies, go see Captain America 2 (I highly recommend it), and while you’re at it go watch Spiderman 2 and let me know if it’s any good. Go eat out at a favorite café or restaurant, spend time with your friends, spazz out on the couch and sing with your favorite music. (Or, is that just me?) Subconsciously, your brain will be working for you, picking through the data it’s continuously being fed and before you know it, something will give you an idea. there’ll be a flicker of inspiration. Hey, that girl on that one show has issues with her older sister. So do I! Maybe I’ll write about how my sister locked me in the closet when I was five, and thanks to her I’m now claustrophobic. Yeah, that’ll be great for my memoir. See what I mean? (Now, whether your sister thinks this is a great idea, or not, is another issue all on its own. I suggest never letting her read your memoir, at least not while you’re in the same state.)
5. Read lots of books, poetry, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, blog posts, etc., and the same will happen as up above.
But, my brain just doesn’t want to work, it’s not cooperating with me. Well, tough cookie, I’d like to say. But I’v had those moments too. However, this is where Writer’s Block is no longer the issue, and where simple laziness comes into play. There are times when we just don’t want to do anything, period. The very thought of lifting a pen, a sheet of paper, of sitting in the same spot for hours, and especially washing the dishes sounds completely ridiculous. Yet, that’s just being lazy. So, to say that I am not working on anything because I have Writer’s Block, is in fact, a lie. I am not working on anything because I simply do not want to, otherwise, I would be researching, reading, editing, and watching shows that I like in order to get more ideas as I go. The same goes for many others in the craft.
I sometimes stop writing because I do not think that my work is good enough, or that it lacks something. In such cases, I start doing more research, and at the same time, I am the one thinking that my work is not good enough. So far, thankfully, no one has told me otherwise. I am the one limiting myself.
Thus, If you say to me that you have Writer’s Block, I will automatically ask you what you’re doing to counteract it. And if you respond with, “nothing,” then I will tell you that you do not have Writer’s Block, but in fact, are simply being lazy. Writer’s Block is a period of low productivity. Keyword low, as in, something’s still being produced even though that something’s nothing more than a few scribbles on a diner napkin, right next the smudge of ketchup you wiped from your face seconds before. A bit of laziness is necessary to relax the mind, but complete laziness is a decision solely made by the artist, and whose effect is the complete stop of the creative process.