If you are a writer, there’s a high chance you’d have suffer from writer’s block. For the uninitiated, it is the point during one’s writing journey where he or she struggles to put words down. When you sit down in front of your computer, time just flew by you but no words appear on the screen. Even when you did write something, you find yourself deleting those words. You get angry. You wonder what’s going on and started to hate yourself.
I’ve encountered it several times now during my writing journey. After spending some time to dissect it, here are three reasons I believe contributes to writer’s block.
High Expectations or Perfectionism
Most writers, if not all, I believe have traits of perfectionism in them. It is this desire to create the best piece of work before you hit that publish button. Even if it’s not perfectionism, it could be the high-expectation you put on yourself, especially if you have successfully published something that went viral or is starting to earn you enough income. Now with a new piece of writing, you want it to be even better than before.
So you put a high amount of pressure on yourself to deliver. You push yourself a little too hard that you start criticising yourself for every little mistakes you make in your writing. You delete words because you feel like they don’t belong or don’t get the message across. You are spending more time editing than writing. After a while, it makes you cranky and frustrated all the time.
Being too comfortable in your routines
Routines are great. It gives you some sense of stability. For some writers, routines are what allow them to write because it’s something like a primer. However, routines can be dangerous if left to its own devices because it makes you complacent and comfortable. When you are comfortable, you stop coming up with new ideas or thoughts. Your subconscious mind just think there’s no danger. Nothing to worry. And when you finally want to write, there’s nothing in your mind.
Being stuck in the same physical space
Writing can be a pretty lonely endeavour, especially when you are just starting out. When there is a deadline, self-imposed or contractual or sometimes you just want to finish a piece of writing quickly because you think you are in some kind of flow, you withdraw from the world, hide away in some place just to meet it. You stop meeting your friends. You ignore your family. Maybe stop talking to people even.
When that happens, your brain stop getting the right kind of stimulation it needed. And if you think about it, it’s actually very closely related to being comfortable in your routines. Being stuck removes your inspiration because your brain see the same things over and over again.
How to get out of it?
The solution to writer’s block is actually very simple. You will need to audit yourself and asked whether your writer’s block stems from one, two or all three reasons.
If it’s the first reason, then you will need to start accepting and acknowledging you are only human and mistakes will happen. Self compassion is very important here. Lowering your expectations will also help. You have to trust yourself to complete the writing.
If it’s the second, the third or both reason, then maybe it’s time you switch up your environment and routines. Maybe start reviewing that messy wardrobe of yours and began the journey of minimalism. Maybe call up a few of your closest friends and ask them out for a meal. Or maybe it’s time for you to take a vacation.