“I can’t do it. I have writer’s block,” said every writer who ever lived. It is nothing more than an excuse you might tell yourself because you lack the determination and willpower necessary to keep going. ‘Writer’s block’ is nothing more than fear. You fear whether your work will be perfect or not; you fear whether you will have the ability to see to its fruition. There always seems to be an excuse for the things you are so eager to complete. It is a paradox. It is a myth. It is a waste of time.
To an extent, everyone claims to be a perfectionist. Because of this, it is so easy to take much longer than necessary to write an essay, an article, or a novel. What might have been an hour of the day turns into three or five, and then ten. The key here is to write to the work’s end, and then go back to make edits, changes, and additions. Unless the piece is completed from start to finish, it will not matter how perfect the lines are in between. Every piece of writing needs a welcoming beginning, a great deal of fluff in between, and an inspiring end to captivate the audience and culminate the themes presented. If too much time is spent to perfect the beginning, the fluff will never be reached, and the lasting impact will never be communicated with whoever the audience may be. Of course, it is always beneficial to establish a hook in a way that peaks interests and holds the reader throughout the entirety of the piece.
Regarding the writing of stories, and depending on the story being told, a great number of things go into the writing itself. These include but are not limited to: character development, setting, plot, and theme. Those who write about made up worlds have an even more challenging time tying in their schematics into the story itself. The best way to prepare for this type of writing is to plan way ahead of time. Make an outline of what is to be written. The same holds true for any sort of writing. Segmenting each portion of the work into topics and subtopics makes the activity so much easier. It also alleviates the fear of failure. Although, failure is part of every written work. As is true with every other task in life, failure should be embraced. Without it, there is no hope of improvement. Without failure, nothing will be learned. Failure makes life interesting; it determines whether you can recover from it and improve what you struggled with the last time. Without failure, no innovation would ever be made. If you defer your writing to tomorrow, you defer your dreams. Plan, plan, and plan some more. Make the plan as in-depth as needed, but do not get carried away. There is still the real work to be written.
Everyone has the ability to draft and redraft work. To say to yourself “I cannot do it” is beyond a lie to yourself; it is a disgrace to everything you are capable of accomplishing. You most certainly can do it! Get out there and do it! Whether it is good or bad should not be the primary concern. It can be improved once it is completed. Stay focused on getting it done and then go back to make it full of pizazz. Writing is edited for a purpose.
‘Writer’s block’ is nothing more than a psychological test of the mind. What it comes down to is whether or not you have the drive to move forward, the will to succeed, and the concentration necessary to write at your optimal levels. Telling yourself “I am out of ideas” is a rather lazy way of saying you need more practice. Writing is perhaps the king of all skills that require practice. You need to practice your craft and your speech. There is no way around it.
There are so many distractions that can influence the rate at which work is written. A phone does no good when sitting down to write. The best counter is to completely shut it off. Nothing is going to happen in an hour that demands your attention more than the work at hand. Do not eat while writing. Do not fall asleep while writing. Once it is completed, you have all the time in the world to do as you please.
You can condition yourself to write at amazing levels if you continuously write in the same location and under the same circumstances. Choose a favorite spot to write. It is up to you whether that is in your bedroom, at a library, or out in nature. The best advice you can get is the following: the place where you are the least distracted is your best bet at a clear shot from start to finish. Make sure wherever it is, you are not negatively distracted. In the case of writing in nature, it may benefit you to see the wonders of the earth while you write in order for new ideas to flow from brain to paper. Do what you need to do. Write where you know is best for you. Along with this comes writing at the same time of day. Writing right when you wake up in the morning can help a lot because your mind is hopefully fully rested from the day before and has many new ideas to get from thought to paper. Writing at night also may spark great ideas. Whenever you choose, make sure to make it a routine habit. By choosing one, same time of the day to write, you know it is part of your day and you are aware of the daily deadline you need to meet. Reward yourself every day after you finish another section. This trains the mind to do its job and reap the benefits, but only after the work is complete.
It is also a clever trick to rethink your attitude towards writing. Most times, when you think you have no ideas, or you just cannot seem to get words on the page, you are not in the best relationship with your writing habits or techniques. Love to write and it will never feel like a chore. Love to write and it will be the highlight of your day. Love to write and you will never leave home without a pen, a notebook, and a unique outlook on all things good, bad, and in between.
This myth is not to be misunderstood. While it is best to never stop writing until your work is completed, it is worth noting to not fall into the trap of producing poor work and then not going back to redraft and make edits. Everything written should be of your best quality. Never submit something your audience would not be interested in reading. More importantly, never submit something that you are not proud of. To a certain extent, being selfish is better than being selfless. Too many people care more about others than for themselves. The first job you have is to ensure you are proud of your work. It is yours before it is anyone else’s. After that, other people can have all the joy they may have in reading it. If it is not to your perfection, you will not receive the critiques or feedback you might have liked, had you turned in something of better quality. Raise the standards for yourself and commit to perfecting your work as best you can. Live by a code and stick to it.
How you feel about your writing has a huge impact on your desire to succeed. If you believe you area poor writer, your work will reflect that. If you passionately believe you are an excellent writer, your work will reflect that. The more you tell yourself something on repeat, the more you come to believe its truth.
Make deadlines for yourself. When given a month to write something, finish it in the first week so you can edit for the remaining three weeks. Deadlines push you to go beyond your limits and drive your desire to get it done. If you think procrastination is okay, you are wrong. Procrastination is ‘writer’s block’. ‘Writers block’ is procrastination. It is the deferral of your writing because you are lazy, disinterested for the wrong reasons, and too focused on something that probably matters very little like social media. The clock is ticking. Stop making excuses. Put the work in and you will succeed. Write every day, even if it is the worst possible sentence you can think of. That bad sentence can be edited, too. If you take the time to sit down, pick up the pen and paper or open the word document and type away, you will make progress. Sitting down to write is more than half the battle. The same holds true for everything in life. If given the materials necessary and the circumstances required to excel, anyone has the capabilities to produce amazing work. Target the problems and expunge them from your life. Rethink your strategies and try different methods. Treat your work as if it is professional and of a great degree of quality. It really is.
Lastly, read. Read every genre you can get your hands on. It makes your writing all the better. To become a master, you must first study the masters.