Writer's block is simply the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing. In other words, an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slow down.
Many writers experience this problem in many different ways. For some, it can last for a short time while for others, it can last for a very long time or indefinitely.
Thus, it's not uncommon to see writers who've failed to produce original work after their first publication or who published again after so many years. But why? What are the causes of this condition? What are the symptoms and remedies of writer's block?
We have provided answers to these questions below.
A number of reasons may account for why some writers are unable to create new content or finish an existing piece of work. These reasons vary from individual to individual and include:
1. Lack of Creativity or Insufficient Knowledge Surrounding a Particular Topic: Many writers drag their feet and feel reluctant to continue writing when they realise they lack creativity and/or knowledge surrounding a topic. The writer may also not have the emotional inspiration to tackle a particular topic. All these may prevent writers from continuing their craft.
2. Environmental Changes: A writer's environment and environmental needs may change. A writer may move to a new environment and no longer find it appealing or conducive for writing as the former. This may prevent him from writing.
3. Relationship Troubles: Relationship problems can cause a toll on your writing. For some, it can spur them to write more and even better. However, for others, relationship problems can result to writer's block.
4. Pressure to Meet Deadlines: Many writers enjoy working at their own pace. When pressured to complete a piece of writing, they hit a rock.
5. Fear: This might be the fear of putting new ideas out there for people to read and provide feedback or criticism.
6. Perfectionism: Some writers want to be just right and perfect but it's hard to be perfect. Constantly analysing your content thinking that it could get better is counter productive. Many writers finally stop or give up trying because they feel they can't attain perfection.
7. Timing: When to write is very important. Writers write at different times of the day, week or even month. Each writer must find a conducive time to do his or her craft. Failure to do so will mean no inspiration/ability to write and thus writer's block.
8. Alcohol/Drugs: If you are a heavy drinker of alcohol, note that it can adversely affect your cognition and ability to concisely express your thoughts in the form of writing. Drugs that act as depressants and reduce ability to think consciously are generally not beneficial for writers.
9. Depression: When you are depressed, your ability to produce a creative piece of work is highly reduced.
10. Fatigue: This can affect you both physically and mentally.
Symptoms differ. Some writers may be completely blank while others may struggle to write or stay focus. Victims become mentally foggy and find nothing to write. This is always accompanied by frustration and stress.
There are many remedies. The first thing to do is identify the problem and the cause of the problem or block. Is it as a result of environmental changes? Is it as a result of timing, motivation, alcohol/drugs and/or depression? Is it because of fatigue? When you identify the problem, you have a greater chance of solving it.
Below are remedies to writer's block.
1. Change the Environment: Your environment, as we have seen, contribute significantly to your writing. Where you live and write can influence your writing. If you realise the environment is the cause of the block, do well to find another conducive place to live and write in order to escape from the block.
2. Eliminate Distraction: Distraction deprives you from concentrating on your writing. Distraction such as social media, TV, music and other activities cause us to lose focus and make the act of writing less efficient. Reducing or eliminating these distractions will help you stay focus.
3. Find Inspiration: If your problem is lack of inspiration, find it. Do everything possible to get inspiration. Inspiration can come in many ways such as reading inspirational quotes, reading your favourite author, going for a walk etc.
4. Reading: Read Something. Reading empowers you with new ideas and chances are that your block will be gone before you are done.
5. Call an old friend.
6. Research: Perhaps, your problem is as a result of lack of knowledge surrounding your topic. Do some research. You will get a better understanding of the topic and feel inspired again.
7. Relaxation: Relax. Rest. Sleep well. A good sleep will cure stress. A good sleep will reinvigorate you.
8. Take a Break: Take a break if you don't have the urge to write. Breaks should be frequent especially if you've been writing for a long time.
9. Brew Some Coffee: Coffee is the most common natural stimulant used throughout the world. Use it to boost yourself. This will not get you out of the block. However, it will help stimulate you and get you out of that sluggish state.
10. Quit Writing: Quit writing if it's not working for you. Quitting should only be your last resort - when you finally come to the agreement that you can write anymore. Don't continue to force it. If you wrote well in the past, chances are that you will return to writing more vibrant than before. Until then, just push writing aside.
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