Updated: Aug 30, 2020
Writer’s block is something every writer deals with eventually. Sometimes you lose the motivation to write, you might be distracted, your interest in your story might be diminishing, or you might be losing confidence in yourself and doubting your writing. However, this is nothing to panic about because it happens to all of us at some point. There are many things you can do to overcome writer’s block and start writing again.
Reedsy defines writer’s block as “the state of being unable to proceed with writing, and/or the inability to start writing something new.” I think of writer’s block as a mental block. I had a severe case of writer’s block for over 3 years before I finally was able to finish my novel. Part of this had to do with working a full-time job related to writing. I was continuously pushing myself too hard at work and experiencing burnout, so I didn’t have any energy left after work to write.
It’s essential to find other ways to express your creativity besides writing. One of the ways I expressed my creativity while I wasn’t writing was to scrapbook. I also read in my free time, but even the amount of reading I was able to accomplish dropped during this time. In addition, my husband taught me a lot about cooking, so I’m a much better cook now, which most people would say involves a certain amount of skill and creativity. There are many other creative things you could focus on, such as being involved in theatre, dancing, singing or playing an instrument, painting or drawing, etc. Having creative hobbies provides you something new to focus on when you need a break from writing. These types of hobbies might even help you work through a story idea you’ve been working on by taking a break from it.
When I was struggling with writer’s block, I lost my passion for writing. I didn’t feel inspired or motivated. I kept telling myself I had nothing to write about and that what I was working on wasn’t moving the story along in the right way. However, I now realize you don’t have to feel “inspired” 100% of the time you’re writing. I’m not saying you should force yourself to write if you really hate it, especially if you have a new story idea you would rather write about. But I do think if you want to be an author, there will be days when you should push yourself and make the time for writing, even if everything you write is shitty. The important thing is that you’re writing.
You may be doubting yourself and thinking you aren’t a good enough writer. You might have given up because you don’t think anyone will want to read your books or that if they do read them, they will hate what you’ve written and tear it apart. Like writer’s block, this is a fear every writer faces at some point. It isn’t an easy thing to push through, but most writers are tough (you have to be when you’re putting your words out into the world for anyone to read). Just remember you’re not alone. If you have author friends, you can turn to them for advice or just to rant because they will most likely understand what you’re going through.
It also might be good for you to take a break from writing for a few weeks or a few months if it is impacting your mental health. Then, after your break, you can return to your novel with fresh eyes and dive into the story. Write without inhibitions and worry about getting rid of the shitty parts later.
If none of those tips sound like they would work for you, then try watching a movie you’ve watched a dozen times or re-reading a well-loved book. Listen to your favorite song. Remind yourself what you love about them and soak in the inspiration. Browse an art gallery. Go on a walk and admire nature. Bake a cake. Re-decorate your house. Finding productive ways to relax and appreciate the things you love can help with your writing too.
No matter what issues you’re having with writing or what is causing your writer’s block, I promise you will overcome it if you don’t give up.
Comment below with your tips for overcoming writer’s block! Let me know if you do any of the things I discussed in this blog post.