Writer's block is every writer's worst enemy. We all face it at least once in our writing careers. It's the worst. An enemy that comes to us in the shape of a blank page. Keeping us busy in the middle of the night, not caring about our personal boundaries. It's not until we deal with it, that it goes away. And even then it's only a question whether it will stay away. As you can probably tell, I've struggled with it myself. But what to do to overcome writer's block? I'll tell you. Because thanks to these secret hacks, writer's block now officially belongs to my past.
To know how to overcome writer's block, we first must know what it is exactly. Roughly said, writer's block can occur because of two things: because we don't know what to write or because we don't feel good enough.
Not feeling inspired SUCKS. Yes, I said it. Not knowing what to write about is the reason why we most often don't keep the habit we wanted to make. And, truth be told, it's a tricky one to overcome. Because to feel inspired, it's imperative that we feel some kind of ease. The less inspiration we have, the less we feel at ease. It's true, no matter how much we try to tell ourselves otherwise. How to get inspiration, you ask? Try this!
- Go for a walk. I know, I know, you don't feel like wasting your precious writing time on something as silly as a walk in the park. But in my book, it's one of the best ways to get inspired. Walking around and paying attention to the things going on around us, and I mean really paying attention, can get our inspiration juices flowing like no other!
When walking around, ask yourself: What do I see? What do I hear? What do I smell? Where do I think that lady with her ginormous dog is going? What do I think those children are up to? It doesn't matter how futile your thoughts may seem, treat them like the gems of creativity they are. Next, go home, climb into your favorite pen (or behind your laptop with a steaming hot cup of coffee) and write!
- Is it raining outside? Or are you really just not up to going out for a walk? Use a writing prompt. Writing prompts are small texts that provide you an idea for a story. Our friend the Internet can provide you with lots of writing prompts, but if you want you can always e-mail me to get a nice list of dark and twisted writing prompts directly in your inbox (please use subject "Writing prompts"!). Happy writing!
Now that we've tackled the problem of lack of inspiration, we need to face that other writer's block monster: feeling insecure about our writing. We are our own worst critics, and thankfully so! Because of our inner critic, we push ourselves to get better at what we love doing the most. However, that inner critic can get the better of us, and that's what happens when we are stuck behind that bloody blank page. Not to worry, though. This is how you change your mindset and accept that you are that badass writer you want to be:
- Trust the process and just start writing. I know it's easier said than done, but every writing needs editing before it becomes something that we can feel comfortable with. That's okay. It's normal! But for our writing to be edited, there needs to be at least something on that page. Sit down and write (or stand up and walk around, for all I care)! Start with a broad idea, start with a character profile, or start with the ending of your epic story if you feel like it. It honestly doesn't matter, as long as you start with something. The rest will follow, I promise. And if it's bad? You edit it!
- As I said, we are our own worst critics. That's why we should not always listen to what our inner voice tells us we're doing wrong and let other people read our work. No, I'm not talking about The Remorseless Anonymous Readers online, I'm talking about people who care about you. Show your work to someone you trust, be it your spouse, your best friend, your aunt or your neighbor. Ask them for their honest opinion and (this is important!) trust their judgment. Remember that you might not see the true worth or potential of you work, because you are too involved. Trust the judgment of your people and build your confidence! Note: this doesn't work if your mom or your sibling is the kind of person who loves everything you do or would not tell you if your work really would need more tweaking. Choose someone who cares about you and who is honest about what they think, only then does this step work best!
There you go, those are my secret hacks to overcome writer's block! Still don't feel ready to conquer that beast? Contact me. I coach writers all across the world to become the best version of themselves. I coach in English and in Dutch, and since you're reading this in English... I know we can make it work!
- Pia Sophia