Does Writer's Block Really Exist? (And If It Does, How Do I Beat It?)
In my Junior Year of high school, I remember being able to attend an event where various writers and creatives, such as comedians, screenwriters, and artists took the time to speak on their successes and answer any questions that the students they were presenting to had. Sitting through one of the presentations, I remember mustering up the courage to ask a question that had been lingering in my mind for a while, “What is the best way to get over writer’s block?”
It happens to all writers. We come up with all of these ideas and new stories to tell, and then when it comes to actually writing them, they seem to vanish in thin air! In my own personal experience, I’ve either had instances where I either don’t know where to go with a story, or have trouble getting it off the ground, too troubled by the minute yet important details like: what hair color does my character have? what’s the name of the street they live on? how do they feel about the food they’re eating in this scene? When you’re creating a Whole New World™, it’s easy to get bogged down in all the little details and especially in the bigger picture items like plot, setting, and characters. There is a lot to balance! And because of this, it’s easy to just shut down and refrain from trying to come up with the solutions to all of these answers. You hit a wall, and there becomes a “block.”
But let’s jump back to that presentation in Junior Year. You see, when I did finally ask that question to the speaker, his response wasn’t one that my high school age mind was quite prepared for. Perhaps you’ll get more out of it initially than I did, dear reader. To paraphrase him, he had said, “There is no such thing as writer’s block; the key is to just keep writing and writing. Don’t tell yourself that you’re stuck in a block and get comfortable there.”
Now, if you've been involved in some writing groups before or talked to fellow writers, you’ve probably heard part of that before. To just “keep writing” and not to wait for inspiration to strike. But to hear someone say with such vindication that there is no such thing as writer’s block? Now that’s a bold claim, but one I think there may be credence to.
I think what my speaker was trying to say is that “Writer’s Block” is just a change in perspective; it’s a belief system, just as much as believing in something else like vampires or werewolves. And while I initially felt as though he didn’t really answer my question, I realize now that he most certainly did. In accordance with this idea that writer’s block is just a belief, and one we can choose to believe in or not, the best way to get over writer’s block, is to not believe in it. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but by rejecting the notion that you are in a rut, and telling yourself affirmations such as, “No, I can write today,” or “I will figure out these details as I continue to write,” the pathway to dispelling it becomes easier and easier. Don’t let writer’s block govern your current feelings of not being able to write, but rather, prove it wrong. Make writer’s block believe in you, and maybe you’ll believe in yourself as well.