Have you ever been in a situation wherein you wanted to add something to your journal or finish a long-overdue essay, but your mind just cannot come up with something? Perhaps, it feels like your creative juices have run dry. If you have long been wondering what is up with you, then you have come to the right place. The answer to your question is a common occurrence among writers. It is what they call writer’s block.
Writer’s block is a condition in which a writer loses the ability to produce new work. Essentially, when you are having a writer’s block, you become unable to think of new ideas to write. Hence, your writing endeavor takes a stopover. For those whose careers largely depend on producing written work, this condition may be a big problem. Nonetheless, there are many effective ways to beat writer’s block. The first and most crucial step is, of course, to determine the root cause of your creative slowdown. There are several reasons behind a writer’s block; this article enumerates some of the most common below.
Burnout is one of the most common reasons behind a writer’s block. Of course, it is normal for you to experience physical or mental collapse when you are overworked. Naturally, humans are not built to function at full capacity all the time. When you are exerting too much effort on something, it is possible for you to burn out eventually just like a matchstick.
To avoid this, allow yourself to unwind and sleep every now and then. Your mind and body need to recovery regularly from all the hard work they have been doing. To battle burnout, have alternate periods of work and rest.
Faced with too many distractions
Being faced with too many distractions can also hinder a writer from getting a write-up or a manuscript done. Distractions can come in many forms. Responsibilities at work, tasks at home, and demands of social life are some of the things that can take up much of your mental space. Aside from these, being too much consumed by digital media is also one way to facilitate a writer’s block. In this age of constant distraction, it has indeed become difficult to let your mind work full time while surrounded with things that can easily take your attention.
To solve this issue, determine the trivial things that are taking so much of your time, and work around changing them. Reduce also the amount of time you spend on social media, online games, and other digital platforms that are addictive and time-consuming. Instead, make it a point to invest your time and energy on the more important things that can help your writing career such as reading, attending book events or writing workshops, interacting with fellow writers, etc.
Being unable to come up with something to write can also be a sign of declining health. The inability to concentrate and think thoroughly is a symptom of some health conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, Cushing syndrome, dementia, diabetes, and epilepsy. It can also be a result of a mental health disorder affecting one’s mental and emotional capacity to work, examples of which are major depressive disorder and schizophrenia.
To ensure that your health does not get in the way of your writing, always maintain a good shape. Exercise regularly. Have a scheduled check-up with your doctor and take any prescribed medication you have. Also, avoid stressing yourself too much since, as stress is one of the primary causes of the decline in mental and physical health.
Setting unrealistic expectations
Fear of failure and disappointment can also be one of the reasons behind a writer’s block. More often than not, writers who focus on trying to perfect their writing only end up not writing anything at all. For this reason, being a perfectionist can be considered counterproductive in the literary world.
Of course, no one can write a perfect piece on his or her first draft, not even on second nor third. Being able to write a masterpiece takes a lot of time, effort, and failed attempts. It is a series of trial and error, which is pretty much normal. Just because it takes you forty-two revisions on a manuscript does not mean you are less of a writer.
An effective way to avoid creative slowdown is to refrain from setting unrealistic expectations to yourself. Do not pressure yourself too much. Allow yourself to go through the stage of bad writing to be able to grow and become a great writer someday. Let each of your writing experience be a learning process. Most importantly, always have fun in writing. One of the most disheartening reasons behind a writer’s block is that sometimes, writers tend to treat writing as a job more than a passion.