Writing a blog, articles, a book, or a letter there are times when there is a pause, a creative slowdown. Another term for it is writer’s block. There is the motivation to write but nothing is happening. The capacity to produce new work has diminished or disappeared altogether.
Recently, I did a short writing course to improve my writing skills. I discovered that Oscar Wilde (Irish poet and playwright) said: ‘Before lunch I added a comma. After lunch I took it out again.’
Do I have writer’s block? If I have anything resembling this and I can’t write, there is a reason! Too many ideas, too many thoughts! Is there such a state as writer’s congestion? To many thoughts in the pipeline! For this week’s blog article I could have written about three different subjects. I started two but returned to the topic of writer’s block.
Writer’s block is different to procrastination. It is important not to make excuses. Differentiate between making excuses and needing time-out to think to let creativity flow. In the writing course I learnt that if you love writing, then write! Don’t worry about punctuation or grammar in the early stages. I do like a little punctuation as I go, even though this is not one of my strengths. I am planning to improve!
Have you ever written a letter when you pause and think before you put pen to paper. Or even when writing an email. The written word can be misread, misinterpreted. Words are powerful. Will the reader understand the writer’s message? Thinking as you go, pausing, doing something else for a while can make a difference to the end product.
For anyone who get writer’s block it can be a shock when it first happens. But there are simple ways to get over it. Such as having a break, going for a walk, or doing another activity. Some people will garden or if cooking dinner start the preparation early. Sometimes I find when I write that I have a power surge at the end of the day when I should be preparing dinner.
Then I had one of those aha moments. I realised that chef’s prepare their food early in the day so I can do the same. If it is 5 p.m. I can let my creative side linger longer and keep tapping my keyboard. I would like to write more. Research more. There are so many topics I am interested in, but it does take time to do the research and do it well. Although a writer aiming for perfection too early or too often can cause a creative slowdown.
For those who spend hours and hours a day writing, if writing is your occupation then writer’s block can be a problem. But the best approach is not to panic! Do something else you enjoy for a while. I find water stimulates my thinking. I don’t have a pool so I can’t swim but then I could swim at the local aquatic centre. I could have a bath or a shower but I am conscious of conserving water, so I have self-imposed limitations. For those who live close to the ocean swimming can be a year around event. More so, if you live in Queensland. A writer who can swim in a pool or the ocean will feel refreshed and ready for that next surge of creative writing.
During the writing course we used Skype as a communication method. The course piqued my interest and others and now we are forming a writer’s group. We do not all live in Queensland but with email and Skype there is so much we can do. We can share ideas and writing techniques. We can receive feedback on our writing. We can give feedback on others writing. It is a great platform for learning and development. A great way to become a better writer.