Do you ever find yourself staring blankly at the computer screen with a large and heavy brick sitting smack dead in the middle of your right cerebral cortex?
Of course you do. You’re a writer and writer’s block happens all the time.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck ass any less.
The way writer’s block occurs is different from person to person. When many writers find inspiration from any upheaval in their life, I want to retreat into my head and turn away from anything that resembles a blank computer screen or pen and paper. I need structure and normalcy in my life to feel creative, though out of both those things comes nothing remotely interesting to write about. Only in living life do we truly have fodder worth writing.
Having been interested in creating “stuff” my entire life, I randomly find myself in creative ruts from time to time. It often seems that there is no rhyme or reason to the blockages, but I know that is not true. It takes a lot of self-analyzing to get to the bottom of the issue and that doesn’t always guarantee you will magically make it go away.
Recently I’ve been feeling stuck. I’m not quite sure why, so I’m taking this opportunity to break down what in my life could be affecting my creativity. Here’s to hoping it will help me get back on track.
1.) Change-up in daily life: For me it has been visiting my father in LA, my mother and grandmother in NY and my boyfriend returning home from a 3 month stay in Portugal. All of these events have made me not interested in blogging/social media and rather enjoying my time with my loved ones. It is difficult to get back into “the swing of Internet things” once you’ve been grounded in reality for awhile.
2.) Social Media: News bulletin: Social Media is distracting to creativity. Though being active in social media has helped my writing endeavors in more ways that I can list, it is also a nasty little brain clogger. I love partaking in the game that is social media, but I’ve also become a slave to it. Not only does it take away time from writing, it also fills your mind with the equivalent of radio ga-ga and television poo-poo. It also plays a part into the next two factors.
3.) Lack of Self-Esteem: I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I compare myself to others when it comes to writing. I made a promise to myself not to do this with most things in my life, but when it comes to writing, it is difficult not to read others’ work and think, “Wow! They’re so much more talented than I am.” I’ve watched peers go on to work for reputable outlets and write amazing pieces of work. Though I may not have the same goals as these peers, I still feel inferior to them. Any added negative comments I receive also plays a factor into my self-esteem though I try with my darndest not to let it bother me.
4.) Not writing for yourself: Something ugly can happen once you’ve been blogging for awhile: You no longer write for yourself. Though I would say the majority of the time I write what I want to write, there is often a nasty little monster (social media) that sits on your shoulder suggesting content that it thinks your audience would like better than to read your own voice. In other words: writing for yourself or writing for what you think people want to read. Both have their merit, though it’s always best to write for you!
5.) Disorganization with creative goals: Being extremely right-brained without an ounce of logic or structure that comes with the left brain, I often have a flurry of creative ideas only to get overwhelmed by them and ultimately losing interest in them. I’ve never been a “planner” when it comes to anything and I just live life by my gut. This has proven well so far and it still boggles my mind that I’ve actually gotten to a point I want to in life (a freelance writer who works from home). There are so many more things I want to achieve and I need to learn to organize them, otherwise I’ll be suspended in a state of creative paralysis.
What causes you to have writer’s block?
Number three strikes a chord with me. Difficult to put something onto paper (or screen, whatever the case may be) when I think about the book I’m currently reading and how infantile my inner-monologue sounds compared to that book.
What do you do to deflate the effects of number three?
Sometimes I find it soothing to write something that I know is garbage, and I know won’t interest anyone, just to force myself into a position of discomfort. The payoff is that usually someone will still tell me they liked it, which blows my mind and boosts my esteem a bit.
Gosh, what to do to deflate comparing yourself to others?…hmmmm….
I’d say don’t go on social media and don’t read others’ work, but that is impossible and not healthy.
I guess it’s just important to remember that we all have our own voice. When I feel bad about my writing, I look to successful writers who don’t use flowery words and sentences. They’ve achieved success, but more importantly, relatability, with readers.
On comparing yourself to others, I know where you are coming from. I think when we compare outselves to others we see someone who has defined and refined their ‘voice’. Your ‘voice’ will never be their ‘voice’. I’m all about finding your own lane, what sets you apart from others doing something similar, and then growing and refining your ‘voice’. Do you (and find ways to do you better).
Besides being a DJ, I am also a spoken word poet, performance poet, what have you. Writer’s block sucks. Sometimes things are too big to write about. When my Pops passed, I really wanted to write about it, but it was just too big. It took me a year to be able to tackle it.
Lots of times I’ll jot down ideas on the notepad on my iPhone or iPad (sometimes analog with paper and pen). I’ll keep that going until I start seeing themes coming together. Sometimes I go back and look at twitter or Facebook posts to find things to expound on and write about.
I enjoy reading your work and like your ‘voice’.
Thanks for the wonderful comment! I try to keep a running list of ideas on my phone or notepad, but lately I don’t even have that! I think I need to focus a bit more.
It takes me awhile to write about big things too.
That is too cool that you’re a spoken word/performance poet. Good for you!
“Being extremely right-brained without an ounce of logic or structure that comes with the left brain, I often have a flurry of creative ideas only to get overwhelmed by them and ultimately losing interest in them.”
Welcome to my life.:) And I agree that it is a sweet pleasure to meet goals when you have no idea how that could have been possible! <3
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I can kinda relate to number 5 in that I am one of those ENTP types who loves the theoretical versus the execution of an idea. Then when I do have an idea I want to execute, number 3 kicks in and I worry if something is going to be overly cliché or overdone. I don’t consider myself to be a professional writer just yet, but I would like to hold myself to the standards of one!