Or why writer’s block sucks
Reading through blogs combined with my voracious appetite for the written word mean I have loads of sources of inspiration and idols for my writing. As I’m sure you’ve found when writing homework/an essay/a card for someone, sometimes words decide they’d much rather stay cocooned away in your brain to develop a little longer. In that sense, I’ve found writing frustrating and at times overwhelming: how do all of these amazing authors write such perfect eloquent sentences time and time again when all my brain wants to do is type rectangle, possum and moist [squirms] over and over?
What on earth do they do to overcome such a stupid loop? How could I overcome that? How do you overcome that?
I’ve spent hours reading about writing, both novels and blogs. All evidence points to having a consistent time where you sit in your designated spot, go through your pre-writing ritual and just write. Just write? What kind of advice is that? Just string any old letters together in a jumble of words, put some punctuation in and hey presto you’ve got sentences to build into a paragraph? Seems so simple, right? How many of you have opened up Word or your notebook then spent an hour scrolling through your phone or finding the perfect song to listen to on YouTube?
My biggest fear is that someone would find my unedited fledging mess of thoughts and think that that was the best I could do, or that what I’d written was nonsense. Again, this harks back to what I consider a creative person’s deepest darkest fear: you’re terrible at the creative outlet you love so much. Or you’re good, but not good enough to give up the day job. Lessons might help, but in my mind there are a lot of things that can’t be taught, only the initial skill developed. [Yes, I know, a LOT of people will disagree there: let’s discuss it! Maybe you’ll change my mind. Maybe.]
What does one do when they’re feeling creatively stunted? Tim Ferris gave the advice of setting your goal at 2 crappy pages of writing [read: this interview]. To just sit and force yourself to get typing [or produce 2 crappy sketches, or 2 stanzas of crappy verse/lyrics, for example]. If after the 2 pages [or whatever] your creative juices are still viscous, then hey you tried. Onto the next thing. And try again tomorrow.
If all else fails, I like to do my favourite writing pastime: reading about writing. Ok yes, I know it’s not technically writing, but I feel it improves my wordsmith acumen [have any two words ever sounded so pretentious?] and I enjoy it! There are a lot of great books on writing, I’ve linked some of my faves below [with a rating out of 5 of what I thought]. On Amazon you can find loads for £0.01 Where you just pay for postage; most of my copies cost me £2.81. That way, I don’t feel rubbish when I attack the pages with a pencil or highlighter. Those are my copies to go in the library of the house that I will own some day [even if that’s just bookshelves instead of a dressing table, I don’t care!]
My library of writing books
Stephen King – On Writing  | Anna Lamott – Bird by Bird  | Matt Rudnitsky – You Are An Author, So Write Your F***ing Book [4.5] | James Scott Bell – Plot and Structure  | Dorothea Brand – Becoming A Writer [5*] [if you can only get one, get this one] | Karen Wiesner – First Draft in 30 Days  | Carolyn See – Making a Literary Life  |
Let me know if you have any other tips or tricks for getting over writer’s block:
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