Ever experienced finding yourself frustrated while staring at a blank page?
At an exam perhaps, or test in school where you're just completely empty within, and the adrenaline is pumping through your veins and you can't help but going all nuts?
This is not uncommon, in fact, lots of famous writers claim to have experienced writer's block and the web is flooded with articles on how to deal with it.
By definition writer’s block is described as the following
"Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown."
However, according to a Niel strauss, who's a trained journalist and writer of seven books, there is no such thing as writer's block.
Well, that's a bit odd, isn't it? Mainly since most of us can recall accessing this state of mind?
You know what, I think it's brilliantly put. I can relate to his words. You see, once I had a complete black out on a math test at the age of 15. It was so horrible that I made myself a promise to never ever enter that state again.
And guess what? I haven’t experienced it since. And I tell you, I write every day. With ease.
His full statement goes like this:
“there is no such thing as writers block, it’s performance anxiety which you have been imposed at yourself because your expectations are too high”
It couldn’t be phrased any better, if you ask me.
Basically what happens is that the ego interferes with the natural source of flow from within.
It uses stress to distract you from touching it, basically cut short; it’s the fear of failure that’s hunting you down.
Ego, the perfectionist, screams with a never ending discontent making you unable to produce anything. Just typing one word, or letter can be impossible.
Here is how Malcolm Gladwell deals with writers block.
“I deal with writer’s block by lowering my expectations. I think the trouble starts when you sit down to write and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificent—and when you don’t, panic sets in. The solution is never to sit down and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificent. I write a little bit, almost every day, and if it results in two or three or (on a good day) four good paragraphs, I consider myself a lucky man. Never try to be the hare. All hail the tortoise.”
Lower your standards and you’ll never have such problem again. Trust yourself. Leave the conscious I and you’ll become the vessel of the cosmic.
Next time you find yourself with a block, start free-writing or just write something, find some questions to answer, anything that have you use your fingers creating words. And do so without looking on passed sentences. Write blind folded, use no time to edit. It might be rubbish, but at least it will get you going. Perhaps you’ll find some useful sentences or paragraphs in there. Of that I’m sure. If not.. You’ll never be able to be a good and happy writer, I guess. Of course you should also consider if talking a walk or have a break if you’ve been glazing at your screen for hours is what really is needed.
Simply put, leave your ego at the door while you sit down and start typing.