WRITER’S BLOCK – HOW TO OVERCOME IT
By definition, writer’s block is either the inability to conceive of a fresh topic or the incapacitation to move forward with a topic once it is conceived. In an online article, author Jeff Goines maintains possible causes as being “poor timing, fear, and perfectionism.”
In paraphrase of Wikipedia, additional causes for writer’s block include:
- Lack of inspiration
- Distraction by outside events
- Physical Sickness
- The termination of a relationship
- Financial concerns
- Productivity Pressure and Deadlines
- An overarching sense of failure
- Energy shifts in the brain
Regarding the latter, studies have shown that under stress, the human brain will switch its regulation of the cerebral cortex to the limbic system, which is associated with involuntary processes such as the “fight or flight” response as well as behavior that is based on deep-seated teachings. The cerebral cortex is responsible for creativity, and when its input is restricted, it takes on the conduct of the limbic system, which is in charge of emotions and memory. Unaware of this shift, individuals may believe their creativity is blocked.
A rewording of Goin’s solutions to the various causes of writer’s block is:
- Getting rid of tangible distractions: Isolate yourself finding an area free from the distractions of people, television, telephone, text message prompts, and if possible, the noises of the street. Unless you are one of the few individuals who can receive inspiration while listening to soft background music, silence the radio and stereo too. Whenever convenient and accessible, select this area as your dedicated space for writing.
- Engaging in an activity that gets the blood circulating: It has been documented that physical exercise stimulates the brain getting the creative juices flowing.
- Taking a walk is another form of physical exercise. It an opportunity to get fresh air facilitating greater focus, and some are even stimulated to write as they walk.
- Amusement – Whether it is sports, computer games, or just playing with children, recreation is a diversion that can stimulate creativity.
- A change of environment: Many writers utilize various spaces for different stages of their writing project. For example, some may begin creating an outline at a coffee shop but then retreat to a quiet place in their home for developing their thoughts. Also, targeting a few different settings in which to write and then alternating between them can be mentally energizing.
- Reading other authors can give you a greater command of language and style while stirring the imagination.
- Just writing about whatever comes to mind: Free-writing, without regard for grammar, punctuation, and even spelling can liberate you from impasses developed from being overly self-critical as well as clear away mental clutter. The results are not for public consumption but merely for you.
- Listening to your favorite music can decrease depression, stress, and anxieties while encouraging alertness.
- Creating a daily routine: Determining a time of day to write depending upon your natural predisposition to mornings, afternoons, or evenings, habitually adhering to this hour, and establishing a dedicated space(s) in which to write can spark the flow of ideas each time the scenarios are embraced.
- Being in the company of someone you esteem can break up the tedium of the writing task and inspire fresh thought. Joining a writer’s group is helpful to that end.
- Telephoning an old or current friend: Socialization is a positive distraction that can allow people to vent and increase their self-confidence.
- Bulleted brainstorming on paper can help writers compartmentalize augmenting the organization of their ideas.
- Reading inspirational quotes encourages fresh perspectives.
Goines also indicates possible circumstances that will augment writer’s block, and I quote:
- “Refusing to write
- Wallowing in self-pity
- Procrastination and excuses”
In short, the consensus is that the main way to eliminate writer’s block is by just writing freely about anything at all without concern for correctness. All writers, whether professional or amateur, experience blocks, but the way to overcome them is by forging ahead instead of stagnating and becoming paralyzed.
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