What is Writer's Block?
When your mind is bored, when you're in a state of blandness. Everything seems dull to you, even yourself. You can't think of a single thing to write no matter how much you try. You feel that it's even pointless to try. Even though your mind is eager and full of energy to write something, your mind is being blocked. It's a concept to be experienced, not to be explained.
How do I get rid of Writer's Block?
Freelance - Try writing freelance for 10-20 minutes. I don't care what you write about. I don't even care if you don't have anything to write about. Just write something. Anything. Birds. Bees. Trees. Sneeze. Pictures. Cheese. I've got a poem so far. The point of this exercise is to get your brain moving. When your brain sees a selection of words, stories or whatever you write, your mind will begin to process these words and search for inspiration.
Exercising - Believe it or not, exercising helps because you are relaxing your mind. Even try going outside and taking a walk or a jog will clear your mind. Try some slow, calmed breathing exercises.
The Arts - Listen to music. Look at some artwork on a website. Anything related to the Arts triggers emotions and feelings. Also try creating some artwork by drawing a picture with one continuous line.
Write Only - This is a rule that you set for yourself, in which you complete a chosen phrase. For example you can choose to 'write only' 5 words, a paragraph without vowels, etc. Again, this is to get your brain thinking and connecting ideas.
Read a Book - Especially re-read a book because you will find that you disagree with the book. So, you can rewrite the book. Also reading books in general fills your mind with ideas.
"Ideas are the cheapest part of the writing. They are free. The hard part is what you do with the ideas you've gathered." -- Jane Yolen (author of "Sleeping Ugly")
Alright, now I've got some ideas about what I can write. But there is so much information on my WordPad document. How do I connect my thoughts? How do I choose one topic from the millions of things I wrote down? Well over the years, authors have offered their wisdom on the dreaded writer's block:
"The concrete is better than the abstract. The detail is better than the commonplace. The sensual [through the senses] is better than the intellectual. The visual is better than the mental" -- Ellen Hunnicutt (author of "Suite for Calliope")
"I think what's really hard is making sense and making what you write clear and smooth-flowing" -- Roy Blount, Jr (author of "One Fell Soup")
"I enjoy writing and it is hard. But then it's hard for everyone to write well. I have to rewrite over and over again..." -- Avi (author of "Nothing But the Truth")
"The first draft is a skeleton -- just bare bones." -- Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (author of "Shiloh")
"I'm a rewriter. That's the part I like best . . . once I have a pile of paper to work with, it's like having the pieces of a puzzle. I just have to put the pieces together to make a picture." -- Judy Blume ("Fudgemania")
"I think writer's block is simply the dread that you are going to write something horrible. But as a writer, I believe that if you sit down long enough, sooner or later something will come out." -- by Roy Blount, Jr (author of "Crackers")
I don't think I agree with Roy Blount because my writer's block was caused by the fact that I was uninspired. I drew a blank and for a moment, my mind could not concentrate. I was energetic and willing to write something so necessarily I wasn't worried about it being bad.
There are several reasons for being diagnosed with writer's block. Below are the symptoms and cures:
No Brainstorming - trying to write something without brainstorming your ideas beforehand. The solution is to grab a blank piece of paper and a writing tool and to begin outlining your thoughts!
The Boring Topic - I have a passion for writing. But I get upset if a teacher assigns me a topic that bores me. The cure to this is to work through your boredom. Find an interesting aspect of the topic and start from there or try. Also if you are allowed, try and personalize the assignment by adding color and creativity.
Waste of Time - This symptom is 'The Boring Topic's cousin. To find out more about a topic you should always do research. However many people are too bored and lazy to attempt to find out more about a topic that they don't understand. The solution would be to talk to whoever assigned you the topic and find out exactly what they want you to write.
Stressed Mess - Your mind is filled with other worries and problems so much so that you cannot focus on writing. There are several methods to release your stress, including breathing exercises and stretches to relax your mind. Also don't force yourself to write or tell yourself to 'calm down' because this causes anxiety and panic that you won't finish the writing task on time.
Self-conscious Soul - This is actually a common symptom of writer's block! Sometimes writers are scared of their capabilities and the criticism that they might face. To get rid of the fear, you should write down something. Don't care how terrible it might be, just force yourself to write because then you're getting over your writer's block. First drafts are ALWAYS bad. Even the first draft of this article, which was terrible and full of spelling and grammar errors. But it DID get published! So take the giant leap of writing faith and ask someone else what they think of your writing.
This causes me to say that I do agree with Roy Blount because in the process of thinking of topics, I eliminated them. I could have written an interesting piece on teenage peer pressure regardless of what people had to say about it. I could have done an expose on Miley Cyrus and Disney stars as role models, or a controversial article about religion. If I had the energy to write something, then why didn't I? Perhaps I was fearful of the comments in the BBS and I could not handle the anticipation that I was going to be bashed. Maybe I was scared of not measuring up to the past writers who wrote about the same subjects that I thought of. I believe that remake articles are similar to movie sequels, they almost never measure up because people still linger in and admire the first version. Roy Blount was also correct when he said that "if you sit down long enough, sooner or later something will come out" because eventually I did begin writing. What I wrote were poems, and here are my results. I know that they are not my best work. In fact, they're far from that. But I am glad that I did break the block that prevented me from writing.
Author's Note: Art is another method of unleashing your mind so I included a couple of drawings.