It’s been a while since I wrote about anything besides Satanic issues, so this week I’m going to talk about writing again. To get back into the writing mood I’m going to be going over a pretty basic topic, but one that many beginning writers struggle with: writers block and its cures.
In order to begin to think about curing your writers block, you have to figure out what’s causing the block in the first place. Sometimes your block is due to simply not being in the habit of writing every day, and that is simultaneously the easiest and hardest problem to fix. The best way I’ve found of handling this problem is to treat it like a real job. Writing time is work time; just because you’re making your own schedule and setting your own goals doesn’t mean it’s any less important than your day job. So stick to your writing “shifts” and, even if the words don’t flow as they should at first, eventually sitting down and writing for an extended period of time will be like second nature.
But, of course, the problem isn’t always as simple as that. If it feels like your well of ideas has dried up, all it takes is finding a new source. Try writing from the point of view of another character – sometimes minor characters, or hell, even your villain, can provide a fresh new perspective on your story that your main character(s) weren’t able to provide. Go to your outline and try writing a scene out of order – you don’t have to write linearly – or write the end first and figure out how you’re going to get your characters to that point. Sometimes you just need a clear end goal.
But, even after you’ve tried all that – you’re in the habit of writing daily and you’ve found a fresh source of inspiration for your story – it’s still not enough. There are two possible reasons this is happening: depression, or burnout. Sometimes depression and burnout share the same symptoms: lack of motivation, fatigue, and changes in sleeping patterns. If you haven’t had depression, it might be difficult to tell the difference between the two. If you think you have depression, consult a doctor. If, for whatever reason, you can’t, utilize your support group. That’s going to be your friends, your family, your coworkers, whoever you run to when you need help. Depression is a serious illness, and you can’t handle it on your own. There is no shame in admitting that and asking for help.
Burnout, on the other hand, is not quite so serious a problem. My first suggestion when it comes to dealing with burnout is to take a break. Yes, your writing is important, but it’s not worth risking your mental health over it. Take a week or so off and focus on yourself. Find a de-stressor. Some people like to do yoga, or meditate, or exercise. I personally play video games to de-stress (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been my go-to as of late; it provides the escapism necessary to wind down after work, and there’s just enough violence to work through whatever aggression I’m dealing with at the moment). Do whatever works best for you.
I’ve also found, at least in my experience, that a low self-esteem and a gross environment can contribute to burnout. Sometimes all it takes to feel better about sitting down and writing is to take a day off to clean your space, or give yourself a makeover. Put on a bra, and change out of the sweatpants into a pair of jeans, or, if you want to be really professional, slacks.
Writers block can be tough to get through if you don’t know what you’re doing. Hopefully, these suggestions can help.