November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and given the number of people participating, and the number of complaints about low word counts or zero word counts, I thought we should chat about writer’s block.
What is writer’s block?
If you look on Wikipedia, writer’s block is a “condition.”
Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history, writer’s block has been a documented problem.
Some people believe it’s an actual thing that happens to people.
For the sake of transparency, I’m in the camp that believes writer’s block is not an actual thing. It’s an excuse.
Let’s look at some of the problems and solutions for having writer’s block.
The Problem: I have been working diligently on my story for a month, and now, suddenly, nothing comes. I just stare at my computer screen.
The Real Problem: This writer doesn’t know where their story is going. They didn’t plan or outline their plot, and so doesn’t know what comes next or how to solve the problem they have written themselves into.
The Solution: Sit your butt in your chair and take an hour, or two, or day, or two, and outline your story so you know what has happened with your plot, where you are currently in your story, and figure out where you need to go to get to the end. Hint: Having an outline, no matter how brief, will help you stay on track. Then write it.
The Problem: I just don’t have any ideas of what to write about.
The Real Problem: This writer wants some kind of magical experience. They are waiting for the muse, and because the muse is on vacation, they don’t know what to write about.
The Solution: Sit your butt in your chair and just write about something. Practice writing. Write about your breakfast. Hint: Writing is five percent inspiration and ninety-five percent doing the consistent work of writing.
The Problem: Pick any excuse for not writing.
The Solution: Sit your butt in your chair and write. Hint: Remember Newton’s Law: objects in motion tend to stay in motion. In other words, it is easier to write consistently if you are dedicated to writing consistently.
Next time: TBD