So you sitting there staring at that big blank page and nothing is happening. You want to write that killer blog post but your as blank as white wall. Have you been there? Absolutely. Does it feel real? Yes. But what if it isn’t? I’m about to show you how writers block doesn’t exist and for what you are going through there is an easy fix. Here’s your chance to tweet this out to help a friend “What if what they told you about writers block was a lie?” Click Here To Tweet
If you’ve been writing for any length of time I know you’ve either felt as if you had writers block or you know someone else who has. I know the title of this post is a little strong. Why would I say it’s a lie? Well the reality is your brain never truly is blocked it’s more like a shift in your brain.- Unless you’ve had a head injury and even in those cases there are still pathways to your thoughts. I’ve included a piece below from Wikipedia more about writers block and the brain I think you’ll find interesting. It appears when we are experiencing what we think is a block it’s just a lack of creativity at that moment. But this is basically the deal. If you are suffering from a “Block” you have to stop telling yourself that you have a block.
Studies of the brain reveal that when you tell yourself something your brain follows. In other words if you keep saying you have a “block” your brain say “Oh OK no writing going on today”.
- So the first thing is to say to yourself out loud ” I am a creative writer, I am filled with great ideas, I have new ideas for writing all the time” – Or some thing like that. Your brain will give you what you say so be careful what you are saying.
- Other studies show that if you want to be more creative you should DO creative things- I know weird huh? Makes sense though.
That could be checking out an art gallery, or laying in a park just dreaming, watching an amazing play, or concert- anything that creatively engages that part of your brain.
Turn on your favorite music and sit with a pen in your hand and write whatever comes to you.
- Forget perfectionism. Writers block also stems from a need to be perfect. Just write it all, write it fast with reckless abandonment then come back and edit later.
It has been suggested that Writer’s Block is more than just a mentality. Under stress, a human brain will “shift control from the cerebral cortex to the limbic system”. The limbic system is associated with the instinctual processes, such as “fight or flight” response. Because the person is primarily thinking in instinctual (learned) behaviors, creative processes are hindered. The person is often unaware of the change, which may lead them to believe they are creatively “blocked”. In her 2004 book The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain(ISBN 9780618230655), the writer and neurologist Alice W. Flaherty has argued that literary creativity is a function of specific areas of the brain, and that block may be the result of brain activity being disrupted in those areas.
For a composition perspective, Lawrence Oliver says, in his article, “Helping Students Overcome Writer’s Block”, “Students receive little or no advice on how to generate ideas or explore their thoughts, and they usually must proceed through the writing process without guidance or corrective feedback from the teacher, who withholds comments and criticism until grading the final product.” He says, students “learn to write by writing”, and often they are paralyzed by rules and/or insecure.
Phyllis Koestenbaum wrote in her article, “The Secret Climate the Year I Stopped Writing” about her trepidation toward writing, claiming it was tied directly to her instructor’s response. She says, “I needed to write to feel, but without feeling I couldn’t write.” To contrast Koestenbaum experience, Nancy Sommers express her belief that papers don’t end when students write that and neither should instructors’ comments. She urges a “partnership” between writers and instructors so that responses become a conversation.
James Adams notes in his book, Conceptual Blockbusting, various reasons blocks occur including fear of taking a risk, “chaos” in the pre-writing stage, judging versus generating ideas, unable to incubate ideas, or lack of motivation. Additionally, The Purdue Online Writing Lab explains common causes ranging an author being assigned a boring topic to an author who is so stressed out he/she cannot put words on the page, and suggests “possible cures” or invention strategy for each.
- If you have overcome “writers block” share your tips in the comments below