How to Take the Power Away from the Block
Episode #1 of the course How to overcome writer’s block by Jurgen Wolff
Having writer’s block can mean being stuck on one particular scene or feeling like you can’t write anything at all. In this course, you’ll discover ways to overcome all different kinds of blocks so your writing will flow again. Let’s start by reclaiming your power.
Make the Decision Yours
The first step in overcoming a writing block is to take the power away from the block.
If your writing has ground to a halt, make the decision to take a short break and decide when you will start writing again.
Give it at least a couple of days, and consider making it the 10 days that it will take you to go through this course.
Now the decision not to write during that period comes from you, not from the block.
Give Your Writing Brain a Break
In creativity, our subconscious mind leads and our conscious mind follows. Once you commit to writing a certain story, your subconscious mind goes to work in the background. It mulls over who your characters are and what might happen, just as it creates dreams for you every night.
During the actual writing process, the conscious mind draws upon this reservoir of ideas and brings up ones that fit the story you want to tell.
However, when you write a lot, you sometimes get ahead of the subconscious mind, and less and less material seems to pop into your head when you need it.
What to Do during Your Break
Feed your head with stimuli that have nothing to do with your story. Useful activities to this end are:
• Going to a museum or gallery
• Reading folk tales, fairy tales, or myths
• Taking a long walk
Don’t make any of these about your writing; just enjoy them for themselves. You will fill your creative well.
When the Break Is Over
When you return to your writing desk, you may find that the break has done its job and you are full of fresh ideas and eager to write.
It could be that the block was a signal from your subconscious mind that you were heading in the wrong direction with your story or that something was lacking.
I had this experience recently with a children’s book I was writing. Progress suddenly slowed down. Fortunately, this coincided with a trip to Spain to attend a wedding. For three days, I was in a new place, seeing new things, meeting new people, and not thinking about the book at all. It was on the plane home that I began to think about the plot and suddenly realized I’d left out one important element and came up with a solution.
If that happens to you, the temporary block will actually have been a blessing in disguise, and you can solve the problem you uncovered.
If You Still Can’t Write
If you return from the break and still feel blocked, don’t panic! By the end of the course, you will have a collection of practical antidotes to writer’s block, and it’s just a matter of trying each one until you find the one that works for you.
Tomorrow, we’ll take on another major cause of writer’s block: the fear of failure.
All the best,
Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark
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