Throughout my blogging years, I’ve often stated boldly, annoyingly, and stupidly that I don’t believe in writer’s block. And as you’ve probably guessed, that little nugget has come back to bite me in the ass. 🤣
After almost two years of being utterly unable to write, I have to admit my mistake.
Writer’s block is real, and I’m sorry that my high-on-inspiration younger self denied that fact. Hell, I even tried my own advice on how to combat writer’s block, but it hasn’t helped.
Sometimes, when you’re stuck, you’re stuck.
So this is me, eating my hat. I dun goofed.
And not only have I learned that writer’s block is real, but anybody can get blocked in basically anything. For example, hobbies. I used to read and review multiple books per year, but besides the stories I read to my kid, I haven’t finished a single book since March 2021. I just can’t. New books, old favourites, self-help—nothing works. It’s like these walls construct around my brain every time I think of picking something from the bookshelf. This leads to feeling guilty all the time, which just feeds this not-being-able-to-read-thing. Not in a box, not with a fox, and you get what I mean.
I’ve also learned that it really sucks when you so desperately want to do something, but can’t.
My third book should’ve been published last year. At this rate, I don’t see it leaving my hard drive in the next ten years. I’ve tried all the advice, swapped ideas with other writers, brainstormed, meditated, lit candles, burnt sage, and even threatened my keyboard with a hammer, but I can’t write. I sit there for ages, staring at the screen, typing a word then deleting it, and it’s like nothing I do will clear the block. (Aaaand now I’m thinking of my brain as a clogged toilet. 💩)
Moving swiftly along…
My theory is there is writer’s block, and then there is writer’s block. The one is when we don’t know what to write. Maybe there was a plot-hampering mistake earlier in the book/series, and we don’t know how to fix it. Maybe we’ve fallen out of love with the characters or story, or have had a better, shinier idea for a next book. Maybe perfectionism is holding us back, and we can’t find that just right opening sentence. There could be a hundred reasons for this kind of block, and I really do believe this one could be fixed with a good brainstorm or whatever other tips and tricks the interwebs might offer.
But sometimes, our creative wells have run dry. No matter how desperately we might want to keep working, we have nothing left to give to the story and that’s what is keeping us back. In this case, writer’s block is closer to burnout.
And duh, you know? We all just survived this mass trauma and are still battling the aftermath. As stress factors and pressure rise, of course creativity and executive function are going to exit, stage left.
I don’t have any handy dandy tips for you to fix it. No ‘five east steps’ today.
But I do have this.
If you’re feeling burnt out, you’re not alone. Multitudes of us are currently afloat in the same storm and we’re all convinced nobody else knows what we’re going through. So here is a lifeline. I see you and I know how hard it is.
Hugs, friends. We’ll get through this together.
If you do have some tried and tested advice, though, feel free to drop it in the comments. Maybe there’s someone reading who might have a eureka moment because of it.