I hope everyone had a wonderful week and are enjoying this Memorial Day Weekend. I can’t believe it’s already nearing the end of May. As June approaches we enter the midway mark of 2018. Crazy stuff. It is really flying by. Also this is your reminder that your New Year’s Resolutions can still be salvaged. I know you probably haven’t thought about them since the end of January/early February, but you still have 7 whole months left in the year so make them count! Also quick side tangent because this is Memorial Day Weekend (at least here in the United States), I wanted to let everyone know that this is not Veteran’s Day. This is Memorial Day. It is super nice to thank Veterans for their service any day of the year, Memorial Day is for the people who died serving and never made it home to be a Veteran. I don’t want you thinking that I’m discouraging you from being nice or thanking Veterans, because that’s not what I’m doing. I just want you to know the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. Anyway, that’s enough talking about that. Let’s quickly go over what went on this week in terms of pieces published on the website. Last Sunday, I published a Weekly Blog talking about Watching Others Play Video Games and Twitch Streaming. On Wednesday I published a Poem about Public Speaking titled Just Breathe. And on Friday, I published a Writing Prompt piece about a Fairy Child who is a Human who grew u p in the Fairy World and must now take on a mission in the Human World. Don’t worry, it will make sense. Also there is a Part 2 (and maybe 3) planned for the future. Thank you everyone who have already checked out those pieces, and if you haven’t read any of those, you should check them out. People seemed to really enjoy them which I love to see. Now let’s move on to this week’s Weekly Blog topic: Writer’s Block.
Writer’s Block is this awful, awful thing that all writer’s have to face from time to time. It’s the brick wall that imposes on me and makes me forget how to write. It drains all my motivation and creativity and leaves me a puddle of stress on the ground. Writer’s Block sucks out my very soul and leaves me completely hopeless when it comes to writing. Writer’s Block happens to everyone, but not always in the same way. Sometimes it seems to attack the motivation centers in my brain and leaves me staring at a blank page of paper or blank word document on the computer. I can stare and stare at all the white, but nothing comes to me. I know I have to write this thing and get it done, but anything sounds better than writing. Literally watching paint dry or grass grow would be more exciting. I just can’t think of a single thing to write. Another way Writer’s Block seems to get to me is that it puts this external pressure on me that the stuff that I write won’t be good anyway so I might as well not write it. It mixes with social anxiety and other pressures to bully me into not writing. It’s like it would be better if I didn’t write anything as opposed to putting out bad writing. The third way Writer’s Block affects me is that it makes me edit and re-edit over and over again. After I managed to actually write something, I have to go back and re-write it until it’s perfect which it never is. It’s like this vicious cycle that keeps me stuck in a place where I’m writing, but I’m not actually accomplishing anything. Of course there is Calvin’s invention, The Writer’s Block, which can be seen in the header photo (and was actually my WordPress profile picture at first), but I don’t know if his invention really helps in this situation.
So what can any writer do about Writer’s Block? Well I don’t really have the one, full-proof answer, but I do have some things I try when I want to get over Writer’s Block:
1. Just write:
This one is kind of obvious, but just go with me on this. Obviously the solution to Writer’s Block and not being able to write is to write. What I mean by this is that you just need to write. No matter how bad or incoherent it is, just write. Write whatever comes to mind. Sometimes you’ll hear the term “stream of consciousness.” This is similar. Just write your random thoughts. Once you open up your mind and let some words out, the dam should break and you can use this momentum to write whatever you need to write.
2. Write from the perspective of a dog
This one is kind of similar to the first one, but might help get some creative juices flowing, especially if you are working on some kind of creative writing. I find that it’s super easy to write from the perspective of a dog and actually helps you get in the mindset of a fun, colorful world. Dogs are so energetic and playful that you can just imagine what the inside monologue for a Dog would be like. I recently wrote a Writing Prompt piece from the perspective of a dog called Who’s A Good Boy? Check that out if you haven’t already. That might give you a clue about what I mean.
3. Take a break.
If you seriously can’t think of anything to write and you are stuck with nothing but a blank page, taking a short, and I do mean short, break can make a huge difference. Staring at a blank page or blank screen is only going to make you more tired and more aggravated. I suggest taking a step back away from your work and doing something else for a little while to take your mind off of it. Some of the best things can be going for a walk, getting some exercise, putting on some music, watching one episode of a television show, taking a shower, or even just changing your clothes. Any of these can make a huge difference. If you focus on something else and let the project just sit on the back burner for a little bit, that might allow your brain to work on it in the background. Of course using this method requires a lot of time management skills. You need to make sure you have plenty of time to get whatever you are working on done. If you don’t have enough time, taking additional time for breaks won’t help you. Also you need to make breaks short. Working for ten minutes and then playing video games for an hour is not a good use of your time and won’t help you accomplish your goals. Stay on task and use short breaks only when necessary. Don’t run yourself into the ground, but also don’t spend more time on fun stuff than on the actual task at hand.
4. Read/Find Inspiration
Now I didn’t include “Read” as an option under my third suggestion although it totally could have been. Reading for me deserves it’s own spot because it serves double duty when it comes to overcoming Writer’s Block. Sure it gives you a small break from writing, but it also can inspire something inside you. Seeking out inspiration for what you are writing can be a big help and reading is one possible way to find inspiration. Maybe picking up your favorite book will spark some creativity inside you or maybe going back and reading through the source material for the academic paper you are reading will help some thoughts cultivate in your mind before you write them down. I’m always reading stuff here on WordPress that helps me in my writing whether it be an idea for a story, an interesting take on perspective, or great writing that inspires me to write. Again reading also lets your brain think about what you are writing as you take in this new information.
So there are four tips I have for getting over Writer’s Block. Personally I usually just sit down and force myself to write. Once I get the ball rolling, I just keep writing and writing and I end up accomplishing more in one hour than I did in the previous three or four. Writing my average Weekly Blog takes me sometimes close to six hours, but really most of the writing is done within the last hour. I just have to force myself to conquer the blank page and then the words just come naturally after that. I know that Writer’s Block is an issue every writer has to face. Sometimes it even shows up on a daily basis plaguing every single piece. I totally get that.
One of the main reasons that I focused this week’s Weekly Blog on Writer’s Block is that I’ve been really feeling it lately. I have been going strong over the past five months ever since I came back from my Winter/Holiday/End-of-the-year break in late December/early January. I’ve been doing my best to publish between three and four pieces every week since then and have managed to so. In that time we have also grown the website tremendously and attracted a ton of new followers and readers. I am so grateful for all of that.
That being said, I feel exhausted. Creatively drained in a way. So I’ve decided to give myself a little break. Hopefully you understand and that doesn’t break your heart. I just know that a break will help me recover some of my stamina and make sure I can continue making awesome stuff for all the readers here on WordPress. My plan is take off this week and come back with a Weekly Blog next Sunday, June 3rd. So no Poem on Wednesday and no Writing Prompt piece on Friday. There’s a slim possibility that the break will be two weeks, but I don’t see that happening. So again, I’m taking a small break from publishing stuff and I should be back next Sunday to kick off another five month run of constant uploads.
Ok, that’s enough on Writer’s Block. I hope you can get over whatever Writer’s Block you are faced with now and good luck on whatever project you are working on. It’s important to encourage other artists, writers, whatever as they work on their projects, so that’s what I want to do here. If you liked this Weekly Blog, feel free to give it a like and maybe even leave a comment down below. You can give some more suggestions on how to get over Writer’s Block or just leave me a link to the most recent thing you’ve written. I’d love to read it. Thank you again for all your support, new or old, and I hope you have a wonderful week.
See you next Sunday!
Header Photo Credit to Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson