I’m going to tell you something you’ve never realized before: Writer’s Block does not exist.
I know, this sounds CRAZY! How to fix Writer’s Block is everywhere: people make courses about it, people try to tell other people how to fix it in one little pin, people spend their writing hours moaning about how they can’t write. Honestly, it’s become one of the biggest writerly problems out there!
And I’m telling you today that it doesn’t exist.
1. Writer’s Block
Let’s start this out good, shall we?
*we all sit down at a round table-
-drinking our tea very British-ly*
*-and someone in the group with an EPIC monocle raises their tea cup and says in a British accent, “Dearest Mary, what IS this plague called Writer’s Block? How dost one slay it?”
ALRIGHTY. Let’s begin.
So, the definition of Writer’s Block is: The inability to write.
Yes. I find this funny.
I’m going to be very blunt right now: The only time you’ll ever have the inability to write is the day you loose your fingers.
SORRY, it’s gross, I know, but it’s the truth!
Here’s the thing:
- You can’t write if you don’t have fingers.
- You can’t write if you don’t know how to read.
But that’s IT.
If you have fingers, you can type. If you have hands you can pick up that pen or pencil and set it to paper. If you know how to read and write, you can read and write those words down.
You never ever physically have the incapability of writing something. EVER (other than the two reasons I listed).
“Alright, fair enough,” someone random not British person in the group grumps out, “Here’s the real problem, though. I know how to do these things physically, but I feel as though I have a sort of…mental block.”
Well done, non-British-person-who-asks-all-the-right-questions.
So! We’ve covered why Writer’s Block cannot humanly exist because we can all write. So what IS this thing that’s stopping us from writing?
Let me introduce to the real culprit here:
2. Perfectionist Block
Please let me introduce to you all, Perfectionist Block; the nightmare and haunter to all writers! *grins pleasantly*
Perfectionist Block is when you have the mental inability to write because you want everything to be perfect first try.
Here’s the thing: We feel as though we can’t write because somewhere deep deep DEEEEEPPPP within ourselves…we want everything going onto that page to be PERFECT.
Maybe we’ve just started our book, maybe we’re in the middle, maybe we’re at the end, maybe you’ve just written a whole bunch of terrible chapters-it doesn’t matter. Perfectionist Block hits you anywhere at anytime, and that’s because you’re afraid you’re going to mess up. Always.
At the beginning of your book, there’s so much pressure on your writing that’d it be no wonder you have this block! If you just wrote a bunch of terrible chapters, it still makes sense-maybe you’re just scared what you’re going to write next will also be just as bad.
“So…” asks a timid voice from within the group, “how do we get rid of it?”
Now HERE’S what we’ve been waiting for! How do I get rid of Perfectionist Block?
I’m going to tell you something very deep and philosophical.
*takes a deep breath*
I want you to go to your document and write trash.
Okayokayokay HOLD UP one second-I don’t mean trash talk *cringes*.
Here’s the thing. You have to let go of trying to be perfect somehow, and an inspirational pep talk about ‘no one’s perfect’ aint gunna cut it here.
So, instead, I want you to go to your document and just WRITE. Because, as stated in section #1, you do still have the ability to write since you still have hands.
I should hope so anyway *coughs*.
SO, right now, I want you to write your book, write out that next scene, write out a random scene and LET. IT. SUCK. (
I feel like I was about to sing ‘ let it go’ or something, but don’t worry I won’t burst into song on you guys right now)
Your job today? WRITE SOMETHING TERRIBLE! Write something so cringey it HURTS.
But guess what? There’s someone I know called Future You who is an editor. Who cares if that scene you wrote sucked? You’re the ONLY ONE who’s going to see it!
And here’s the thing: if it gets you started-no matter how badly written it is-then that’s what matters. Later on, Future You is going to edit that page-but Future You can’t edit if there’s no page to edit on. It’s Future You’s job to edit, and it’s Present You’s job to write.
Fix it later.
Write your heart out now.
Get Me Going Again Hacks:
- Start with a hook. A good way to kick-start your writing process is to start with a hook. Lots of authors do this at the beginning and end of their chapters, and I encourage you to do it now to get started! Later, Future You might need to edit some out, but if it’s going to make Present You write, then who cares!?
- Write that perfect word in later. We ALL know that moment when you get into the jam of things and your fingers are flying everywhere and BOOM: You can’t for the life of you remember that word!! The next thing you know, you’re spending twenty minutes finding it, and by the time you get back on track, you’ve lost the groove and you just quit. BUT, instead of stopping that jam, just write ‘ELEPHANT’ <-just like that right where the word you can’t find would be. Then, search up the word ‘ELEPHANT’ in your document later and find that perfect word later when you’re not on a big writing roll. (My sister, Julia, tells you in way better detail than me how to do this here!)
- Put your book aside for a moment. If you’re still afraid of messing up, put your book aside for a moment-but don’t stop writing. Instead, go into a blank document, and write out a random scene. You can get inspiration from something on Pinterest, or you can just write a cool scene with your characters in it! But whatever it is, take a break and just WRITE on a different document. You can always delete it later, but who knows? It might be something you’ll really like.
Writer’s Block does not exist, but Perfectionist Block does. Now you know that. But you also know just how to fix it.
Have you ever had Perfectionist Block? Have you ever heard of it before?
Does this help you? I hope you’ll never have Perfectionist Block again.
Also, thank you to my two inspirations for this post: my cousin Gemma, and Jessica Brody. Thank you Gemma for asking me for help when you had Perfectionist Block! You totally inspired me to write this post. And thank you as well to Jessica Brody for coming up with the term ‘Perfectionist Block’. It’s ingenious.
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I hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment down below.
Thanks for reading!
Image Source: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/722968546419105510/