There are dozens and dozens of articles on what writer’s block is and how to beat it, but not many tackle the sources. This is the Ultimate Guide to the different types of writer’s block and how to conquer each one.
Different Types of Writer’s Block
Yes, there are different kinds, but all typically spawn from the same issue–more on that later. Now, each type may be found below:
- The strong urge to write without the ability– You ache to write, you need to write, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t force the words onto paper.
- Knowing you need to write but having no motivation or inspiration to do so–You may have deadlines to meet, but it feels as if the creative well has run dry. It’s like writing holds no appeal at the moment, even with impending deadlines.
- Everything you write sucks–When you finally do get words on paper, they don’t meld well. They come out sounding more like they did when you were in middle school. Hey, you were probably great in middle school–but more than likely you’ve improved since then, and suddenly you’re writing like you’re twelve again.
- Nothing I write matters— Every time you go to write, doubt eats at you. Thoughts like this swarm you: There are tons of authors better than me. I have nothing to say that anyone would care about. Everything I have to say has already been said, in a way much better than I could say it. These thoughts end up shutting down your motivation and your computer, leaving the pages blank.
- Knowing what to write, but lacking motivation to actually put it into words–You know exactly how the next scene(s) or even the rest of your work will turn out, but you just can’t force yourself to put it on paper.
All of these types may overlap, of course, because they all stem from the same main causes:
Each of these are detrimental to a writer, and the successful authors are those able to bounce back when one or all of them rears its head.
So how do we beat it?
The following tips are great for all types of writer’s block, but the ones that are especially helpful to specific ones will have that number next to them.
Step 1: Diagnose your type
Step 2: Read help-tips below
Step 3: Cure
Step 4: Write!
Finally, Help Tips to Kick Writer’s Block
Find Motivation (2, 5): Not everyone can just sit down and say, “Enough’s enough! Today I’m going to write!” You may find it hard to motivate yourself on will-power alone, and that’s okay. Let other people do it for you!
- Find authors on social media. They don’t even have to be super-famous–though that may be a leg-up. See how excited they are about their new release? How grateful they are to their equally excited fans? That could be you–you just first have to finish that project!
- Find fandoms on Tumblr. This is dangerous territory, I admit–but beneath the chaos that is Tumblr, there are great motivators, as well. Observe how passionate people are of stories they like, even if you’ve never heard of them before. All that fanart, the all-caps posts when they can’t contain their enthusiasm, the love for characters–people could be doing that for your work. Even if it’s just one person, that’s an amazing thought.
Find Inspiration (1, 2, 3): Sometimes it just feels like you have no fresh, new ideas at all. Your works have all run into dead ends and you have nowhere to go from here.
- Think weird. Throw some elves in there. Why not? So what if it’s realistic fiction or coming of age? Throw an ogre in there, too. In all seriousness, when stuck, start spitballing ideas. “Hey, I really liked that ogre character in that one book. But how about a gym teacher that looks like an ogre for my coming-of-age novel?
You’ll feel ridiculous, but that’s the point. When you stop taking yourself so seriously, you’ll write some great stuff.
- Don’t plagiarize… borrow. Before anyone gets strung up, let me remind you; there is no such thing as an original idea. That character you love written by your favorite author? That was influenced by something they read, which was influenced by something that author watched, which was inspired by that screenwriter’s best friend’s stepmom–a person, not an idea.
Don’t hesitate writing a sarcastic character just because so-and-so also wrote a sarcastic character in their really popular series. Write the character you wish to write. During the several drafts and edits, they will become uniquely yours on their own.
- Look at pretty pictures and listen to some odd music. Seriously, a writer’s greatest assets are artists and other writers. Art, poetry, music, novels–all are important in influencing each other’s inspiration. Channel it.
Fix your mindset (4): Sometimes the biggest thing standing in our way is ourselves. That’s really all writer’s block is. So set about changing how you think about writing and how you approach it.
- Get rid of the ego. Understand that no matter what you write, someone has written something similar before you, and there will always be better writers than you. Accept this fact, and you’ll feel much better and less pressure.
- Don’t pressure yourself. If you’re writing under the idea of being the next king or queen of classic literature–destroy this mindset. No one, not even publishers, know exactly how a book is going to sell or how it will stand the test of time. But when you’re drafting and editing, it doesn’t matter. Write what you want to write, express yourself in the clearest way possible, and hope for the best.
That being said,
- No one can write your story for you. No matter if your topic has been gone over and over in the book world, no ones can be identical to yours. If there’s something you’re passionate about, you can be certain that someone out there is, too. If your goal is to touch people’s hearts or even save a life, go for it. Convey your message as best as you can. Don’t hold back, Don’t put up barriers for yourself.
Write a story that would have helped you in your darkest days. Finish it. And you’re guaranteed to strike a chord with at least on person that’s where you were when you needed your story.
Writing can be hard, but sometimes writes let the pressure overwhelm them. Remember, at your core you are and always will be a writer. So keep writing.
Want to add any tips or challenge any of mine? Feel free to comment below!