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Writer’s Block. It’s a real thing with real consequences. Let’s talk about it. When you talk about something, it becomes less scary of a thing. So let’s banish writer’s block to the shadows.
There are lots of things can keep us from writing and it’s not always about being blocked. Sometimes life carries us away and it becomes a struggle to create time for our creative outlet.
But sometimes it is about being blocked.
Did you lose your creative muse? That something that calls us and begs us to capture an idea has run from you.
Maybe your prose comes out clunky every time you try to write. You just can’t find your elegant words and you feel like an inept 3 year old.
Possibly, your skill level prevents you from turning your idea into the amazing product that you envision and out of frustration you set down your pen.
Regardless of why you aren’t writing, one thing is certain. Not writing will leave you feeling wrung out and empty. Not writing is much, much harder on our creative selves than writing.
So how can you get over that block. The good news is that there are lots of ways.
1. Lose your need to be perfect. Remember these brilliant words: A terrible first draft is better than no draft at all. Give yourself permission to write a truly horrific first draft. Once you finish, you’ll know what you need to do to make it better. But you can’t edit what you haven’t written. Many find that National Novel Writing Month’s premise of writing a novel in a month helps a writer to banish their inner editor. That’s how I learned to write fast and not obsess over every single word. When I’m working in a first draft, particularly, the priority is to get the shape of the story out and not necessarily a meticulous word choice.
2. Don’t be afraid. It’s a decision. Decide that you aren’t going to be afraid of what is in you that is dying to get out on that page. Tap into what you feel and write that. Fear tells us all sorts of lies about our abilities and breed inaction. Don’t listen to the ugly voice of fear that tries to shut down your writing.
3. Consider multiple projects. The more irons you have in the proverbial fire, the higher the odds you’ll have something to say about one of them. This is my go-to option because I’ve always got something in the works. Maybe I don’t feel like writing romance, so I set that aside and work on my cozy mystery or suspense project. Maybe all fiction is making me crazy, so I write non-fiction pieces for my blog.
4. Just start writing. Doesn’t matter what it is. That step of faith, one word at a time, will reward. One word leads you to one sentence, one paragraph, one page. If it is about not having enough time in your life, then you can try to carve out 15 minutes a day or commit to 1,000 words. Or maybe 250 words is all you can manage. Something is better than nothing. Even if you can’t think of anything to write and you literally write, “I don’t know what to write, but I promised myself I would write so I’m going to start by writing a grocery list.” That’s 23 words. Start somewhere.
Whenever I let much time pass without writing, inevitably one of my close friends will call me and remind that I need to write. They’ve noticed that I’ve turned into that monster that Franz Kafka mentions. You don’t want to leave the monster unchecked, free to roam and bring ruin on your life.
Don’t be a monster. Don’t court insanity. Just write what you feel. It all starts with the first word.
You got this.
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Auburn Seal enjoys zipping through life in the lovely Pacific Northwest where she finds herself surrounded by a great family—one super-cool husband and three awesome children—and gorgeous scenery. She is a fair-weather blogger (it’s possible she has commitment issues), and has a unique ability to weave the dead into her stories. Auburn graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Student Loans. Oops, Justice Studies. Note the irony. Still, Go Sun Devils!