There’s no such thing as ‘writer’s block’

It’s all in your head. So throw out your excuses and bring back the successful writer you know you are. Don’t worry, we have some tips to help.

I hear writers complain over and over again about having writer’s block. In fact, the other day I actually overheard a lady on my morning commute tell the person next to her that she believes writer’s block is an illness of the mind, and that some people aren’t meant to overcome it.

I think it’s time to set the record straight: There’s no such thing as writer’s block.

Wait, let me say that again. There is no such thing as writer’s block.

There’s writing, and then there are the excuses you make for not writing.

Writer’s block isn’t real

I Googled “writer’s block” and the following definition popped up from Wikipedia:

Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite.

Note the last sentence of the definition: “It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when it fact it could be the opposite.”

That means that writer’s block is all in your mind. It’s a lack of confidence and a lack of belief in yourself. It’s a manifestation of your fears.

Don’t make writer’s block out to be something it’s not.

You choose not to overcome writer’s block

Since writer’s block doesn’t really exist, using it as an excuse not to write is your choice. You are choosing to let the nonexistent writer’s block hold you back.

You can easily choose the opposite and focus instead on finding writing inspiration, but many writers choose not to. Many writers choose to let the idea of writer’s block keep them from putting words on the page because it’s easier than writing.

Writing is a scary thing. Writing is putting yourself, your words and your ideas out there. It’s allowing people to judge your work. Some writers just can’t handle it, so they claim “writer’s block” and hide.

There are plenty of ways to overcome it

Some writers choose to find ways to push through to the other side when they feel blocked. Some writers choose to not make excuses and instead take responsibility for themselves and their writing.

And some writers don’t.

If you’re a writer who wants to keep pushing forward and never look back, here are some tools to help you overcome that lack of confidence known as writer’s block:

  • Morning pages: This is the best tool out there to recover your creativity and “unblock” your mind. You’ll be amazed at how well these pages work, and at how fast.
  • Writing exercises: Sometimes a writer just needs a jump-start to get writing. Writing exercises can be just what you need.
  • 10 minutes of gibberish: Instead of writing exercises, you could try the 10 minutes of gibberish method where you write nonsense (or whatever you feel like writing) for 10 minutes prior to starting your writing session. Instant writing flow.
  • Take a break: If nothing else seems to be working for you (and I can’t believe that nothing would work), take a break. Go for a walk around the block. Read a book for 30 minutes. Play a video game. Do something else to refresh your mind. Then get back to writing.

Now that you know writer’s block isn’t real, how are you going to get your creativity back?

Jennifer Blanchard is the founder of Procrastinating Writers, where this article originally ran. She is also co-founder of the Better Writing Habits Challenge. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

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