WRITER’S BLOCK–two words that describe a condition best known to writers as “hitting the wall.” Years ago I ran a marathon when I lived in Kansas City. I remember doing very well for about the first nineteen miles. But somewhere around mile twenty something happened to me…I “hit the wall.” My body started to rebel against my mind and I found myself struggling to put one foot in front of the other. If you’ve written for a reasonable length of time you’ve probably experienced “hitting the wall,” better known as “writer’s block.”
The first thing I want to say about “writer’s block” is that it can’t kill you. It can frustrate you but it can’t harm you. It’s a bit like dark storm clouds that block the sun for a period of time but eventually pass. The thing to remember is that the sun never really went anywhere. It was only hidden from sight for a time. The same is true with writer’s block, which also is like a dark cloud hovering over the author. The good news is that, just like bad weather, it too will pass in time. However, there are some things that you can do to hasten its departure.
Help for Writer’s Block
1. Keep yourself from getting under the gun – try to schedule your writing regularly so you don’t end up having to write huge chunks at a time.
2. Take a break from your normal routine and put the book away for a couple days – occasionally it’s a good thing to put your book down for a couple days and write nothing.
3. Get some rest – often “writer’s block” is associated with being weary or overly tired. Give yourself a time to rest up and refresh. Then you can get back to writing.
4. Do some exercise and get your heart pumping so the blood flows to your brain. You’ll be amazed how something this simple can help restore your creativity.
5. Stop trying to write so it’s perfect. Realize the first draft of your manuscript will not be perfect. That’s okay. Make sure you spend most of your time on writing, not on correcting what you’ve written.
The reason I want to address this issue is simple. I don’t want you to be surprised or overwhelmed if you “hit the wall.” If you’re patient and take the time to learn from other authors who have overcome writer’s block, it won’t be long until you find away over, around, or through the proverbial “wall.” For now, take a few minutes and answer the following questions:
1. Am I willing to invest some time before I face “writer’s block,” reading and learning how other authors have dealt with it?
2. Will I commit to building a file or a folder with tips on how to overcome “writer’s block” before I experience it, so I’m prepared if and when I “hit the wall?”
Next time we’ll talk about why creating a loose outline of your book is a valuable exercise.