Writer’s Block. It’s a thing. Well, I think it is. Some will argue otherwise, to just push through the mental bullshit, also known as nonsense. But it doesn’t matter who you are, not all days will be good ones when it comes to creating, and, certainly, not all of them will be productive ones either, not to say whether or not they are mutually exclusive.
How? How does this happen?
Stress. That’s usually what’s doing it. It’s as simple as stress. It’s as complicated as stress. You can go to fancy resources to figure out your problems, but stress is a common killer of creative flows. It has been for as long as art has been around. Yeah, that’s a long time.
Technically, it’s not the main culprit. It’s what is caused by whatever is happening to you, but the stress that occurs is what does you in. If your time is being used up by an unfortunate event and you can’t create, that’s one thing, but most things are stress related.
What do you do?
Good question. Did you ask it? Doesn’t matter because I did. Yes, that’s right, I’m important. At least I am here. That’s what matters. See what I did there?
I’d recommend de-stressing. Cue eye roll and/or the “no duh.” That’s de-stressing, not to be confused with distressing. This made up compound word actually means to relieve the stress that you’ve accrued and/or are carrying. Stress is not only bad for your creating, it’s bad for your health as well. It even shortens your life, so I’ve been told. Don’t check that. I’m pretty sure that’s accurate. It’s not an alternative fact, probably.
I’ll make past professors cringe when I tell you to do the opposite of what they told me, being older and wiser and whatnot, step away from what you’re doing. Don’t create. If you have something causing you stress, resolve it. Then get yourself to feeling better. After that your creativity will happen more freely and naturally.
Alternatively, another way would be to listen to my older and wiser past professors and push through. It is mental, after all, and forcing yourself to continue isn’t the worst advice. Your best bet here, though, is to try to focus on what you’re creating rather than the stress causing thing that basically produced the blockage in the first place. Take baby steps here. Try too hard and you could end up doing the not creating that you weren’t doing before. If you’re writing, punctuate, write a sentence or two, but not too quickly. After years of trying this, I don’t recommend it. It does sometimes work, forcing your way through, but it’s really for people who just can’t think of anything.
Another, almost compromising thing that partly contradicts the first piece of advice, would be to stop what you’re creating and create another thing. In other words, work on something else. Come back to what you were working on before later. I would recommend, if you choose this “option” to go light on whatever other thing you’ll be creating. You don’t want or need additional stress after all.
But I thought you said it was stress?
Occasionally you will be met with a blank spot in your mind where an idea should be. This is fine. It’s bad for deadlines, but ok for you. Try not to panic, that’s key. The one thing you should do is alleviate that stress. Work it out as well as you can and as quickly as you can without building onto it. This may mean that you have to stop. Understand the necessity of this.
Really, everyone is different. We handle this stuff differently. You may need to take less time than you’d expect to get the ball rolling, so to speak. You might also need more. Pushing through the mental block may be the way to go for you as well.
For many of us the block is there and it’s real. Hopefully, some of the things I mentioned help. If they don’t, if you find another way, I encourage everyone to share. As always, I hope the best for you.