A writer friend of mine shared this link with me the other day, and issued the “Is writer’s block real?” challenge (a challenge I recommend every writer ask themselves, btw). Like many new writers, I came into the craft believing every myth I’d ever heard. Real writers don’t have any problem writing every day, first drafts aren’t complete crap, you have to wait for inspiration to strike, and of course, the dreaded Writer’s Block.
My stance on writer’s block is this:
It’s as real as you let it be.
Writer’s block is all in your head, but since writing is also in your head, this makes block a very real and very troublesome thing. But, like most things that are all in your head, you hold to power to shatter it with a mere change in perspective.
Instead of giving it the power of the dreaded Writer’s Block, I like to think of it as Brain Burn-out. You can get burnt out on anything- favorite food, old familiar jogging trail, anything. Writing is no different.
When I sit down to write and nothing comes, I’ll give it the old college try. If after 5 mins, it’s still crap, I give it another 5 more. If after 15 minutes it’s still completely pulling teeth to write, or (as is often the case) there’s something else I’d rather be doing-
I go do it. I get up, and walk away from the writing.
Here’s the catch: I don’t give up, I just take a break. I allow myself to take a break. It’s all about the headspace.
I had to remind myself of this after crashing and burning with NaNo. I didn’t want to do it this year, I just didn’t. I wasn’t into the story, I’m exhausted from work, and everything I tried to write for fun, I just felt guilty about. I created my own writer’s block, chasing away every character I had. I let writing become a chore.
Once NaNo was over, and I gave myself permission to work on what I wanted to, I wrote a wonderful scene like -that-. No problem.
So yes, writer’s block is very real, and also very easy to beat… kinda. 😛