Although I do write erotica and fictional pieces from time to time, much of my writing is factual, opinion pieces or promotional. It doesn’t make it any easier though. I still face the problem that every writer has experienced in their lifetime: writer’s block.
There is perhaps nothing that shakes your self-confidence as a writer so much as that blank document in front of you and absolutely no idea what you should put on it. You’re a writer; you should surely know at least where to begin. At times, the doubt and uncertainty can feel like such a monumental block that it doesn’t feel like you’ll ever conquer whichever piece of writing work you’re trying to accomplish. I can’t promise to remove your fears and writing block entirely, but I can share the activities that I have found to be of help when I find myself in this position. It’s more regularly than I would care to admit.
This article itself has presented more than a few occasions of blank-mindedness, over thinking and worrying about what I’m going to say. I’m not even taking part in NaNoWriMo; those of you that are have my utmost admiration!
Don’t try to write the finished piece in one sitting
It’s easy to pressure yourself to get a polished piece of perfection out in one go, or else it simply isn’t deemed ‘good enough’ to be sent to that publisher, posted on your site or submitted as a feature – or whatever your particular writing goal is. Perhaps you feel pressure from whichever authority has commissioned the writing, or the word count seems to mammoth to ever accomplish. I find it helps to throw ideas on to a piece of paper, or on a document on screen, to form the first rough draft of relevant notes. They can always be connected up and added to; that’s what pencils and erasers and the cut and paste functions are for.
Do something else
It’s no use sitting gazing at a blank document for hours on end if the words simply aren’t coming. It could be that a short break will revive your creative juices (I find a shower or a bite to eat helps on these occasions) but other times it will just be that today is not a writing day. Every day is a writing day, ideally, but we don’t live in an ideal world. It’s time we were big enough and brave enough to admit that we can’t be the best version of ourselves absolutely every single day. We all have down days, off days and days when our brains just don’t work as they should. Accept it and use the time to do something else, something positive, while your creativity restores in the background.
Read other people’s writing
I find it incredibly motivating and inspiring to read the talent created by other writers. Although their skills obviously surpass my own, reading their creative genius gives my inner writer a kick and spurs me on to try and create that particular imaginative or informative piece that awaits formation.
As well as nudging the muse, reading is in itself a distracting and calming activity. It can help take your mind off your own writing and lose yourself in someone else’s created world and characters. I often surface from a novel feeling mentally refreshed and ready to get back to my own keyboard.
Talk to other writers
There is a close knit community of writers, particularly erotic writers, who are very supportive of each other and will have no hesitation in providing a shoulder to cry on (even if those are digital shoulders and tears) or at least a listening ear about your writing woes. They will most likely have their own writer’s block anecdotes and tips about what they find helps when they’re in the same position.
Don’t write it
If a certain piece simply won’t make it’s way to the page, then there’s no use trying to force it. Perhaps it will happen in its own sweet time, or if the problem lies with a commissioned piece, maybe it simply isn’t stirring your inner muse. Instead of worrying through numerous sleepless nights, think how much more you could achieve if you simply let that one project slip aside. Ask yourself whether this piece of writing really is just proving a challenge or whether it’s an obstacle blocking your creative expression. It’s a difficult decision to make but sometimes its best to close one door to allow another to open.
I hope this article has given you a few handy pointers to see your way through the fog of writer’s block and help it lift as soon as possible. It’s an affliction which has affected all the writers I’ve spoken to at one time or another, so don’t feel like you’re the only one. If anyone has any amazing ideas and tips for combating writer’s block or other writing challenges, please comment on this post as we’d all love to learn more techniques.
– Cara Sutra