Writer’s block doesn’t exist

douggreen
douggreen
Jun 22 · 3 min read

I’ve long been of the belief that writer’s block doesn’t exist in the form that many writers describe. They tell of facing pages and not being able to write — of struggling mightily over words and phrases and still turning out dreck — of seeing massive brick walls between them and their work. This concept of writer’s block is legendary.

I see it as being in the wrong place, the wrong project or the wrong expectation.

When I’m in love with a paragraph, and I can’t write around it, it’s the paragraph’s fault. That paragraph usually winds up being deleted.

Yes. Those wonderful paragraphs you fall in love with are usually a sign there’s a problem with the paragraph. I’ve learned to simply delete them and move forward.

When I’m looking at a blank page and am afraid to start because it won’t be any good or as good as I’d like, that’s fear.

I really don’t like the concept of writer’s block. Fear I can understand. Wrong project, wrong expectation or wrong place I can understand. And that means there’s a way to deal with the problem.

A Simple Technique To Break Writer’s Block

When you’re feeling stuck, simply start writing anything. Seriously. Write anything at all. Yes, even up to and including a shopping list in great detail.

It will slowly but surely come around to something you should be writing. Keep on writing.

Then simply cut/paste the extra to a “notes” file and ignore it until you need those words. And yes, it may take some time. But in my experience once you get a head of steam up, you’ll separate your mind from your fingers in the writing process and the words will flow.

Another Option

Is to simply start with a description of the setting. Describe it in boring detail and continue doing it. Sooner or later, it may take five minutes it may take an hour, you’ll veer away from this out into the broader world. And you’re writing again.

Yet Another Option

You’re stuck. Agree with your muse that you’re stuck and don’t know where to go. But then make a deal that you’re just going to write something that’s really terrible anyway. And do so.

Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself pounding along on the keyboard and not even considering whether the words are good, bad or indifferent. Writer’s block unblocked!

You Do Need To Recreate Yourself Regularly

Sometimes when the words start to dry out, I head out to do something totally different. Driving the sports car, gardening, walking, drinking coffee while watching the people stroll by, going to art galleries and museums are some of the things I do down South. At home, I wander down to the shore, take a long walk, go swimming or just spend a few minutes in the garden. Anything but writing.

I take my mind away from the project, accept other thoughts, sounds, and sights. I totally and completely immerse myself in a new activity.

After that, I usually start small, with a morning note (usually garbage) but still, lots of notes about what I’m seeing, hearing. I get the juices flowing and the words tumbling out. Once the words begin to roll out, they’re on their own on the page and all I’m trying to do is get words out there. To be sure they may be un-edited words, non-paying words but there are a lot of them.

Sooner or later, as long as I keep on writing, my muse delivers the sentence, paragraph or concept I need.

douggreen

Written by

douggreen

Former nurseryman, now writer and curious about what’s over the next hill and how to get there in either my Triumph Spitfire or sailboat.