How Can I Get Past a Writer’s Block?

Sometimes it seems like no matter how hard you try, you sit down at your laptop, and your fingers just don’t move. The words just aren’t coming to you. You try to think of what to write for hours. But your mind can still be accurately represented by a blank canvas. It happens to the best of us. But what can you do about it?

I was recently hit by this horrifying thing we call a writer’s block, and it took me quite a while to get past it. I was reading a lot of books, and they say that when you read, you’re inspired to write, but it didn’t do me any good. They say that when you go out and try something new, ideas will come flooding into your mind. I learned that sometimes, they don’t. So what could I do?

Talk about it. You might not even know what is the cause of your writer’s block. Trying to piece through what’s stopping you from writing can clear the fog, so you can realize that you only have to walk around the wall. I talked to a fellow blogger about my problem, and realized what was holding me back. I think of myself as someone who loves books, and I thought that I had to like all books to stay true to that. So I was trying so hard to finish this one book, and like it. My friend said, “So what if you don’t like the book? Write about how frustrated you were that the book didn’t live up to your expectations.” I was so blinded by my opinions so how I really felt couldn’t get through. I wouldn’t have realized that without someone helping me sort it out.

Listen to music. Even though I had diagnosed my problem, I couldn’t get the drive I needed to put the results down on paper. I was listening to Spotify and these lyrics started spilling into my ears:

When it’s tough
When you get stuck
You’re at the wall
Of the writer’s block
You need a spark
A light in the dark
To get you out of your head
And into your heart

I asked myself, “Where am I? In my head or in my heart?”. I was in my head. I let the fear of being wrong or being judged get into my head and I wasn’t being the writer that my heart told me I should be.

Whether it’s the music that gets you in the mood or the lyrics to inspire you to take action or just being able to put your mind somewhere else for a bit, music can clear up the path so you can get past that writer’s block.

Get inspired. “But how?”, you ask.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” 

– Jack London

I was in the local library two days ago, and passed the computers. An old man was sitting in front of the screen with big bulky headphones watching a video, watching as a record spun round and round. He had that kind of bittersweet smile that convinced me that he could write a Dumas sized book with only the memories floating in his head at that moment. Writers are people who make stories out of life.

But in order to get those stories of life we need to live. But live with our eyes open to stories. See life through a storyteller’s eyes.

“If you keep your eyes open and your heart open, you can see so much, you don’t want to miss anything. You just need to gobble it all up.”

– Oma (My grandmother)

My grandmother is no doubt a storyteller. And it’s because she keeps her eyes open. She watches and she listens. She doesn’t wait for stories to come to her she goes after them.

Just write. You don’t have to write about anything in specific. Maybe the problem is you’re waiting for a certain story. Or your expectations are too high. Everything you write isn’t going to be great. But you have to write in order to write the stuff that’s going to be great.

Write about how agonizing it is that you can’t write. Write about the boring stuff. It’s still writing. And that will get you out of the slump where you “can’t write”.

Let me know…

  • Why do you get writer’s block?
  • What helps you get out of a writer’s block?

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