Using the concept of “writer’s block” as an escape route, many writers avoid work. Read further to learn how to get over this myth.

Writer’s block is a myth, period. You can come up with multiple arguments so as to convince yourself otherwise, but in the end, it is all just a defence mechanism. Think of it as an excuse to not write and to not push your brain further when it experiences the slightest amount of exhaustion. When you say you’re experiencing a “writer’s block”, you’re simply giving yourself an easy ticket to procrastinate, protecting yourself from the anxiety of not being able to write well.

It’s like the concept of inertia- a body will remain at rest until an external force acts on it. You keep waiting for your external force, what you call your inspiration, until all your deadlines pass, and you are still left with a blank page. You blame your “writer’s block” for this but again, you are just living in denial. Does a doctor ever refuse to treat a patient because (s)he’s experiencing a doctor’s block?

I like to think of “writer’s block” as simply a “fear of failure”. Very often, writers avoid writing because they are worried that they may not be able to articulate their ideas as well as they wish to. Or maybe they are just afraid that they may not have an idea at all.

Well, I believe that it is not possible for your brain to entirely run out of ideas. It is not necessary that you will have a good idea, but you will always have at least something. That something can be the worst idea in the century, and it may not make any sense either. But I think that something is always good enough to start writing with.

This brings me to my next point- just start writing. It is genuinely as simple as it sounds. Penning down a bunch of bad ideas will eventually give rise to something worthwhile. But you will never get anywhere if you do not start at all. Just pour your heart on your paper or screen and see what you get. If it is not good enough, you modify it and make it better, but you do not hide behind excuses.

Writing is hard, and that is a fact, there is no escape from it. But that is what distinguishes a professional writer from other casual writers. You write no matter what, you push yourself and you do your job. Some of the major causes leading to the so-called “writer’s block” include the presence of distractions. You need to get rid of them and focus on your work. Lack of confidence, as I mentioned earlier, too may lead to such blockage.

Remember, no one can judge your work unless you show it to them. So, allow yourself to write pages and pages of garbage until you finally get something presentable. Give yourself targets and deadlines but also, award yourself for meeting these deadlines. Believe me, it is all in your head- both fears and ideas. And it is also up to you if you wish to work on them.

Featured Image Credits: Aditi Gutgutia for DU Beat

Aditi Gutgutia

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Here are a few things to keep in mind if your writer cells are diagnosed with the disease called writer’s block, a particular phase where our head feels like a blank void or a trash-filled dustbin.

The dreaded condition of writer’s block might be nothing but a myth for some writers but for many others, it is as real as global warming. So, call it writer’s block or give it another label, as writers, we all have a particular phase where our head feels like a blank void or a trash-filled dustbin. In this phase, we want to write something but we don’t know where to start. The left side of the brain might be brimming with creative prompts but you still end up with crumpled papers and empty MS Word documents.

Is Writer’s Block a common phase? What can be done to fight it? Let’s explore a few things to do during this time.


Take a Pseudo-retirement from your Struggling Writing Career

To write something new, you will have to come up with something new. However, if you can’t think about something new, then take a break. Ensure that you don’t overthink because such forced mental hunts for ideas can only make matters worse. As an escape mechanism, allow yourself to be distracted for a few days. Sleep, eat, socialize, do anything that makes you feel like you have retired from your writing career (even though writers of our age hardly have a proper ‘career’). If you’re still confused on what to do, just take inspiration from the theme song of the series ‘Phineas and Ferb’ excerpts of which go like, “Building a rocket or fighting a mummy or climbing up the Eiffel Tower. Discovering something that doesn’t exist or giving a monkey a shower.”


Act like You’re the CIA (but with some constraints)

The Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin once remarked, “I love the sound of smart people arguing with each other and I want to imitate that sound.” Whatever we write is mostly inspired by or based on the people around us or the city in which we live. If you are running out of inspiration, then go to a shop or take the metro and try eavesdropping on random people’s conversation. Obviously, if a conversation is too personal, don’t delve or stalk regardless of how interesting their characters or stories might seem.. I would recommend you to restrict yourself to a healthy amount of eavesdropping on pretentious college students or Whatsapp addicted aunties.


Binge-watch Films on Writer’s Block

There are few great cinematic gems on writer’s block which might brighten your mood as you will feel that you aren’t alone in this ‘block’. Some feel good hipster-themed films about lonely and confused artists searching for inspiration can also be helpful. For instance, ‘Her’ and ‘500 Days of Summer’. Starting from ‘Ruby Sparks’ and ‘Adaptation’ to ‘Stranger than Fiction’, there are many good films to watch if you are looking for relatable characters who are exasperated with life. On the other hand,  there are some films on the extreme manifestation of writer’s block, like ‘The Shining and Secret Window’ where the writer goes full bonkers. These thrillers would also make you feel better in that it will give you the consolation that at least you have not been diagnosed with such extreme forms of writer’s block.


When in Doubt, Write on Writer’s Block

As writers, we are looking for new challenges. So instead of adding ‘Writing is my life’ and ‘Wordsmith’ to your Instagram bios, it will be better if you up your game. If writer’s block is troubling you, why not fight it by writing on writer’s block itself. Think about the different ways in which you can face this challenge. You can write a poem or a story on what writer’s block is to you, how is it affecting you and so on. It might not be your best work but at least at the end of the day, you will have a few words instead of a blank page.



Feature Image Credits: A Writer’s Den

Shaurya Singh Thapa

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