If your mind has been struggling to produce some good copy for a deadline and you don’t know what to do about it, you are not alone. The best writers have faced this dilemma and found a way out of it. Writer’s block is difficult to define in one definition because the condition is different for every person. For some, it is the inability to write, while for others it is the difficulty to edit or proofread something that has been written.
Science has a lot to explain about writer’s block. It has been concluded by many scientists that language is stored in a particular part of the human brain. Located on the left side of the front, called the frontal lobe. The area is called ‘Broca’s area,’ named after the scientist who made this discovery. If this area is damaged, humans are unable to form proper sentences. Since writer’s block is also a similar condition where one is unable to form words or sentences, it is good to delve deeper into this study to find out some answers.
You will agree that during writer’s block, you can’t finish a story, edit an article or complete a sentence. Agency life demands you to be on deadlines and be on top of your game. You can’t afford to suffer through an abnormality during this period. Any deadline passed means monetary and business loss to the agency. Many people who suffer from writer’s block aren’t suffering mentally. They are just clueless about what to do next with their work. In this
confusion, we roam mindlessly through corridors, finish a bucket of ice cream and binge watch a show on Netflix, but inspiration is still miles away.
Many writers like Terry Pratchett think that “There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.”
These are the people to be envious of because they seem to be perfect in their job of writing. However, the reality is not the same for everyone.
Very often we write down a sentence too early, then another too late; what we have to do is write it down at the proper time. Otherwise, it’s lost.” ― Thomas Bernhard, Concrete.
Following the footsteps of the greats, we have devised a plan in our agency to hold writer’s block by the collar if need be or tame it like our favorite pet. First, we figured out why the writer’s block happens to our mind:
Time: like the razor-sharp deadlines, our brains also inflict war on our bodies. The time for a campaign is coming near and stress levels are high. As a result, the writing suffers. We figured out that there is no right or wrong time, our bodies are just not prepared to take the challenge head-on.
Stress: stress is a significant deciding factor in what the finished product of our work is going to look like. Sometimes, younger professionals are afraid of what the world will think of their ideas. It leads to writer’s block and immense confusion. Fear is a significant reason why many great writers don’t become writers.
Perfection: everyone expects you to be the best. Clients approach you because they trust you with their work. You have to fulfill your promise. Otherwise, your reputation will be tarnished. To overcome this confusion, you must be able to produce good work and satisfy the recipients. You want your work to be perfect, so you never begin until the right slot is upon you. It may happen that the right slot doesn’t arrive. This is another reason why people don’t succeed in their writing profession.
Fear: sometimes, people are scared of being judged and critiqued by putting their ideas out for everyone to see. Writing can be based on opinions and fear could be a significant reason some writers would choose to quit.
How to find out if you have writer’s block?
The condition in itself is somewhat unclear and thus can leave vague symptoms. The ill-defined term can make it difficult for the writer to figure out if he or she is even facing such a problem. In our agency, we believe in bringing awareness and understanding their problem.
First and foremost, writer’s block is not a one-time thing. It’s a recurring occasion, where you constantly face trouble in writing down a piece. In short, it’s the constant workflow issue, and that’s the most basic indicator of the problem.
Here are some ways to increase awareness amongst writers to help them identify and realize that they have a problem:
- The writer is not able to focus on the ‘writing task’ exclusively. The time to write is also designated for various other activities. These include surfing the web, checking your phone, reading a book, watching TV, organizing, cleaning, etc.
- Surfing the web for inspiration and research often ends up in browsing for fun and using social media. The writing time yields little or no actual results.
- Missing deadlines regularly or providing work at the last moment under pressure.
What type of workspace have you provided your writers?
Before jumping to the strategies you can implement to deal with writer’s block, it’s important to address and resolve the more significant issues of the writing process. The type of workspace your writer is working underplays a major role. Here’s what you can do:
- One of the most important rules here is to do what works for the writer.
- You do not necessarily have to ask each and every member of the department about their own individual requirements. The key is to observe and see what the work-habit are.
- Find out factors that keep them motivated to produce more pages – these factors may not necessarily be of convenience or comfort.
Things to ponder over at your typical workspace for writers
- Comfort: What’s the writer sitting on? Where’s the laptop or computer placed? How comfortable is the writer while writing?
- Noise: How peaceful or noisy the surrounding is?
- Temperature: How cozy is the environment regarding temperature?
- Crowd: Is the writer given a separate place or are there people around?
- Ventilation and Light: Does the room have natural light? Is it well ventilated with fresh air?
- Breaks: Do the writers have enough breaks to refresh their minds?
The more positive answers you will have to these questions above, the more you can be satisfied with how your agency is dealing with the writers. The effort to deal with a writer’s block should be made by both the parties. As an agency, you should be aware of their current working situations and make sure you make all necessary improvements.
General Guidelines for Writers
Before we actually discuss some ‘tried and tested’ methods to get rid of writer’s block, here are some general guidelines that would help the writer prepare himself/herself.
- It’s good to be comfortable but never productive to be too comfortable – strike a balance.
- Even if you are struggling with writing currently, at least be open to finding solutions – your willingness will play a major role.
- Don’t use this break to disconnect yourself from writing.
- Try and set up a routine.
- Try writing at the time of day when you feel most productive.
- Focus on gradual progress – even if you are only able to write for ten minutes in a go.
Here are the top ways that would help any writer supercharge their writing process:
Stop being too hard on yourself
The fear of judgment and criticism can usually put a writer in a bad spot. It could lead to a very self-pitying state. Instead of being hard on yourself, switch off that critical setting in your brain for some time. People face writer’s block, not because of their inability to write but because they despair of writing eloquently.
Open up yourself and create the willingness to write again instead of becoming too critical or hard on yourself.
Indulge in other creative activities
As mentioned above, it’s imperative to utilize this time to re-wire your brain into writing again. Instead of taking a break completely, indulge in something creative that you like. For instance, write poetry, paint pictures, make a collage or scrapbook, redecorate your room, do some interior DIY projects – just any creative project that helps you refresh your brain.
Doing something creative other than writing will not allow you to disconnect completely. Use this as a tip you can implement on a daily basis. Whenever you feel stuck, do any other thing that helps you clear your mind. For instance, open your blog, work on your website, or start painting.
Give the creative side of your brain some recharging exercises to do, and you will be surprised how smoothly you get back to the flow of writing. Give the creative side of your brain some recharging exercises to do, and you will be surprised how smoothly you get back to the flow of writing.
Work on setting up a schedule
Set a schedule that you find suitable for writing. It could be any hour of the day when you feel most productive. Dedicate that hour to writing alone. Even if you do not have anything in your mind, show up to write. Carving out a particular time of the day for writing can help deal with the writer’s block.
Our bodies work in a fascinating way. If it experiences the same thing every day at the same time and place, it will eventually get in sync with your muse and mind and adjust accordingly. Graham Greene, the greatest English novelist of the 20th century, would only write 500 words in a day every morning. That’s just about one page per day, but with those 500 words, he managed to publish more than 30 books in his life.
Don’t force yourself
When you can’t work your muse to do what you want to, better set it aside. Give it up for a brief time if you do not want to give up entirely. Creativity is the only thing that cannot be forced. You cannot put your subconscious to produce something it does naturally.
This could be too pressurizing. The best way is to shift gears, relax, and take your time to bring the flow back into your writing. Other than indulging into other creative activities – as mentioned above – you can try meditation or a simple workout, or taking a relaxing stroll in the yard – whatever relaxes your mind instead of putting further pressure on it.
Be your own competition
This is the best trick to becoming competitive. If you have lost that charm, try and reintroduce it into your life by becoming your own competition. Challenge yourself every day to do better. Another great way is to set your own deadlines. If a project has a certain deadline, set your own a little ahead of that. Not only it will give you the boost to complete work before time, but will also give you additional time to recheck and edit your work before submitting it.
You can always get new ideas when you read your own work again and again.
If you have not tried this before, now could be your chance to try it out. Working on multiple projects at a time allows you to switch back and forth from one writing piece to another. For some writers, this is really helpful. It keeps the work from becoming too monotonous and plain.
Some writers find it thrilling to be working on different projects at a time. It helps minimize boredom or fear – or both. For most writers, it could be the most efficient way to prevent writer’s block.
Go back to your writing inspiration
Think about why you got into writing in the first place. Remember all the factors that persuaded you into this career. Recall when you started writing and why. Do you love writing or is it the best leisure time activity for you?
Connecting yourself back to those factors is a great way to touch base and feel the joy again that you did initially. Not only it will help you deal with the block, but it’s also a sustainable way to keep you doing better.
Writer’s block is not only a paralyzing state for the writer but can be harmful to the agency too. It’s important for both the parties to identify this problem and work through a solution together.
As a writer, when you feel a halt, that’s when you should tell yourself to start writing. At first, it could be a paragraph full of meaningless sentences, but with constant effort, soon it will turn into editable stuff, and eventually will become a final product – it’s all about your willingness to begin.