Often times a writer hits a point where expression becomes a difficult task, when frustration out of the feeling of dissatisfaction gulps her in because shecannot produce what she desires, and thus begins the ordeal of a writer who has the means yet is like a musician whose piano ceases to make a sound.
But how does one fall into this confinement?Is it just something that happens on a whim or is there something that triggers this?
Quoting ‘Erica Jong’an American novelist, satirist, and poet, known particularly for her 1973 novel Fear of Flying, “All writing problems are psychological problems. Blocks usually stem from the fear of being judged. If you imagine the world listening, you’ll never write a line. That’s why privacy is so important. You should write first drafts as if they will never be shown to anyone.”
So, a writer’s worst enemy is her own mind. As strange as it may sound, but it is the truth. It is the fear of being judged that pushes her to the edge where she feels she is not able to express the way she is expected to. Generally people think a distance from writing would bring the muse back, yet it fails to happen a lot of times or maybe it takes way too much time. It is when the feeling of being judged fades away, is only when the muse comes back to her again.
Now let us get to the ‘what shall be done’ and ‘what shall not be done’ when one faces this enemy.
THE DO’S –
- “When words don’t come easy, I make do with silence and find something in nothing.” –
Strider Marcus Jones, Poet.
As the man says, one should give one’s heart and mind to settle and cancel out the noise that hinders the language a writer speaks. Then find something to write about.
- Read your previously written work: It would help you taste the nuances that give your writing the kind of personality that they are known for. Also, you will come across your growth as a writer and the manner in which you go about writing a piece.
- Make writing a habit:
Lilith Saintcrow perfectly elaborates this, “Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch.”
- Experience something new: When you experience something new you have something to write about. So, when you hit the wall, writing about a new experience can create a door for you to walk through.
THE DON’TS –
- “Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.” – Jackson Brown Jr., an American author.
Indeed, caving in would only lead to getting out of practice. It is highly important to be regular. It is better to write three sentences everyday than to not write for an entire month.
- Don’t stick to the issue and keep contemplating about it. It will only further lead you down into the pit of fear of being judged.
- Perfectionism – As writers we strive for the perfect, but this would only lead to thoughts never reaching the paper from the pen or the screen from the keyboard. Perfection does not happen right away. It is reached draft by draft.
- Giving an extension to the previous point, don’t edit while you write. It will only hinder the thought generation and your flow. So keep it for the later time.
- Do not think about what others think about you or your work. The only road it will lead you to is the road to the fear of being judged.
We have found our boundaries now and to combat the writer’s block we only need to train our minds not to overstep them. The manner in which it is to be done entirely depends on the writer so we shall leave it up to the writer. As an example, let us see how Ernest Hemmingway, interestingly tackled the writer’s block – “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day, you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start.”
But the golden rule remains the same.
“YOU OVERCOME A WRITER’S BLOCK BY WRITING.”