‘I love to write, so why am I struggling to do so?: Writer’s Block and other Writer Struggles…with Solutions

Every writer has heard of it, endured it themselves, supported another coping with it, etc. It’s what has us hitting backspace and staring at the screen, waiting for the right words and inspiration to hit us. It’s what has us crying and smashing the keyboard in before tossing the whole computer out the window.

Writer’s block.

A writer’s worst nightmare.

Oh. Sorry, what is writer’s block, you ask? And How do writers get past it?

It can happen when you just get a spark of inspiration and sit down. You may have the motivation, but an idea may feel impossible to conceive. It can be in the middle of a great story and a plot point is not completely clear enough to continue on. Or possibly you have too many ideas that are overwhelming you that you don’t know where to start.

Writer’s block is based on four beliefs that I have found, personally, to hold me back in my own writing career and contribute to my own writer’s block.

  1. “Writing should be easy” or “I need to write like blah blah blah and then I will be successful”

It’s easy to feel discouraged about one’s writing progress when we watch authors like James Patterson pop out a book every week or so, it seems. I remember asking myself, “Why aren’t I published yet?” at a time when I was struggling with my identity as a writer. And the truth is, I was trying so hard to be like other writers. I had to tell myself: “Quit trying to be the next J.K Rowling and just be yourself.”

Readers don’t want copy-cats. They can appreciate originality much more than someone trying to mimic what has already been done. You have to believe that the world that you create is just as explorable for your readers. You have the capability to create a world where you make the rules and tell the story that lives inside of you.

Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself is the first ingredient in the recipe for writer’s block. Like expecting to get the story perfect on the first draft. I am personally a perfectionist. I will write and re-write and then go back to research and then start all over again. It is madness.

The thing is, there is no “right way” to write a story. Everyone has their process. Some just hammer out a story with no plan and others spend months creating the right scene word for word. And the first draft is not going to be perfect, that is why writers have editors. I like to write out my ideas first on paper and then type it on the computer. It helps me organize my thoughts in a way that isn’t so overwhelming. I can limit my focus to just one page and not feel overwhelmed with the obligation to fill multiple pages at once. Do what feels right to you.

2) “I’m not a real writer”

Imposter syndrome. It’s real. I’ve struggled with it, and my writing career has suffered because of this misguided belief. When you are writing, you are a writer. It doesn’t matter if it has been shared with the world or not. If you’re a blogger, you’re a writer. If you’re a closet poet, you’re a writer. If you write smut for your fellow inmates, you’re a writer. If you enjoy writing, then you are in fact a writer. The only thing that can keep a writer from writing, is the fear of being a bad writer. And the only way to become a better writer is to write.

3) “I just don’t have that million-dollar idea yet”

If you sit around waiting for a good idea or inspiration to strike, you will never have anything written. That’s the hard truth. Part of the whole idea is to put some creative effort into it. I never once thought that I could write anything as good as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, so I didn’t try. And if I had, it would usually be Harry Potter fan fiction. But after getting over that hump, here I am writing and creating my own fantasy world. And it is a lot of fun! Check out my upcoming post that will cover World Building and Fantasy for tools that will help spark ideas.

If you’ve ever fallen into these thought patterns, now is the time to change that. Self-belief can be the difference between success and failure. And that really is what writer’s block is. Performance anxiety. I, myself, struggle with it. However, I do have a few helpful tools and tips to help cope and get over that barrier that is blocking your true creative self.

  1. Use a tarot deck when you get stuck on an idea.

Successful authors like Stephen King have found inspiration for their next project through tarot. I have found that it can give insight into a scene that I might not have seen before. It can be enlightening at times. I found a lot of other spreads for writing on places like Pinterest and Tumblr.

2. Take a break and come back to it.

Go for a walk, paint a picture or even just meditate. If the words aren’t there, don’t torture yourself. Go do something non-writing-related. Recognize when you are burning yourself out. Writing can just be as mentally, and emotionally, exhausting as any other job that induces performance anxiety.

3) Consult other writing blogs for advice and ideas!

I have found some of the best writing advice from other blogs like that of Brynne Donovan (https://www.bryndonovan.com/) and writing prompt Tumblr pages that give short story ideas. I also pull inspiration from memes and funny scenarios posted online. I have purchased writing prompt books. Ideas and feelings from journaling have also sparked ideas. Look back on previous conflicts you struggled with and base a story conflict on it.

Whatever you do, whether it’s good or bad, big or small, just get it down on paper. Make writing a habit!

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