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Writer’s block – Finding the lost words

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All writers have suffered from this syndrome at least once in their lifetime. Writer’s block happened to me two days back. As soon as I sat to write my next article, my mind went blank, metaphorically imitating the blinking cursor of my blank page. When you are a writer, and you are seriously passionate about it, then you will feel as if a perpetual curse has befallen you. According to Wikipedia, “Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown.” But does a writer really lose his/her ability to produce new work? Many people believe that Writer’s block is a myth and it simply resides within the confines of the author’s mind. Then what exactly is writer’s block? And why does it occur in the life of every author?

The concept of writer’s block originated in the 19th century when a famous English poet by the name of Samuel Taylor first expressed his indescribable fear of not being able to transform his thoughts into words that matched his talent. The romantic English poets of those times believed that words were bestowed to them by some supernatural source. When the perennial flow of their creative juices was hijacked, they believed it to be some kind of curse from those spirits who didn’t visit them anymore.  Sometimes authors and poets were short of inspiration while at other times, circumstantial pressures would hinder their creativity. There can be umpteen reasons why a person suffers from writer’s block, but the truth is he or she never really loses the ‘ability to produce new work’. The mind temporarily shifts to a plane where creativity gets stuck somewhere in the labyrinthine corridors of human reason.

What exactly causes writer’s block?

Fear

Fear

Many a time in your life, you will feel like you are not writing the right way and readers will criticize your write-up. This gives rise to the cloud of self-doubt where you lose your self-confidence and are afraid of writing further. Whenever you read another’s work, that feeling of complexity arises and you feel like you do not have enough knowledge and potential like they do. Always believe that no one knows what you want to write better than you do.

Perfectionism

To be honest, no one writes the perfect piece in the first draft.  The moment you press the ‘Backspace’ button, you lose your rhythm. Editing is a part of drafting, not writing. This is why it is always advised to complete a rough version of your article first, and then move on to the editing part. Never edit when you are free-writing your article. This simple blunder not only hinders your creative flow but also leaves you frustrated.

Exhaustion

Exhaustion

Your daily routine is well reflected in your writing. A common quote, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, holds true for the art of writing also. At times when you are stirred up by your creative juices and you want to write and write and just write without a break, you end up feeling drained and exhausted at the end of the day. A bit of recreation and relaxation is a must, which will ultimately be reflected in your writing.

Also read Benefits Of Maintaining A Daily Journal

How to move past the Writer’s Block?

1. Freewriting

writing

Writer’s block is defined as a blockage in the thought process due to which words fail to flow freely. So to bring back the lost words, follow this simple step. Set the timer for a few minutes and start writing whatever is in your mind. Don’t care about your prepositions and verbs. Just write. Let the words flow naturally the way they want to. The motive is to induce your creative flow at the end of the activity. Words should come naturally to your mind by the time your alarm buzzes.  

2. Read more and more

Read more

Get into a habit of reading every day. Read whatever you like, but ‘read’. Whenever you are haunted by writer’s block, do read for some time. You can also read aloud the words if you like. Reading fuels up your writing and stimulates your creativity. Quality reading also metamorphoses your writing.

3. Take a break

take a break

Stop trying too hard ruminating over a topic. It’s fine if the words are jammed. Get up from your desk and move out for some fresh air. Call a friend or go out for a walk. Let the fresh air outside refresh your mind so that you will return to your desk with wonderful ideas. A small break will definitely help you break your writer’s block.

4. Brew some coffee

Brew some coffee

Brew some coffee when your mind freezes at the sight of blinking cursor. You can opt for some tea if you are more of a tea-lover. These antioxidants have been scientifically proven to rejuvenate your mind and sprout fresh ideas into it. This can be a nice way to overcome writer’s block.

5. Writing prompt

Writing prompts are a smart move to fight writer’s block. When ideas get dried up in your mind, try using a writing prompt to kick-start your writing once again. You can find thousands of free apps and websites for writing prompts on the internet. Some sites deliver a new prompt daily in your inbox once you subscribe.  

6. Change your environment

Change your environment

Instead of working on your desk, you can rather go to a nearby coffee shop and resume your work. Another way to conquer writer’s block is to shift your present mood. Play your favorite music and have one of your favorite dishes for dinner. Music is another such activity that is scientifically proven to endorse your creativity and sparks your thinking process. These little changes might go a long way to find your lost words once again.

7. Don’t aim for perfection

Most writers who suffer from writer’s block don’t acknowledge the fact that there is no such thing called a ‘perfect first draft’. Drafts are meant to be imperfect so that you can scrutinize them later. Just start filling your pages with words. Do not care about grammar while doing so. You can always rectify those errors later on.  When you take that enormous load off yourself, your mind will be free to unleash your full creative potential.

8. Write about Writer’s Block

In case none of the above tip works, you can try the idea I tried today. If you feel you are actually struck by writer’s block, then the best thing you might try is to write about Writer’s Block.  Express the way you are feeling and how much the blinking cursor on your computer screen terrorizes you. Write everything you feel at that infernal moment.  The famous American poet and novelist, Charles Bukowski has put it well – “Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”.

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Chitrotpala Chaitali Dash
Everytime a koel sings, a flower blossoms and a tree speaks, I bloom a little. I am a pluviophile with an old soul, who loves petrichor, poems and a cup of tea, and believes that we all are made up of stardust and carry a little magic within us.

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