A Layman's Guide to Escaping Writer's Block
For those of you more pedantic individuals and some who may not know already, Wikipedia defines writer's block as, "... a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown. ... The condition ranges from difficulty in coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years." Yet I just don't feel that this captures the true pain of writer's block, and my definition will seem a bit less calloused.
The way I define writer's block is a loss of will, passion, and direction, as if I had been surviving in the forest for years and the stress of still not finding my way out suddenly made me want to sit down on a stump, shut down, then slump over onto the ground and wait for the sweet release of death. It isn't some sort of background feeling as if I am only unable to come up with original ideas or produce further works, the feeling is right at the forefront of my perceptions and blares over the noise of daily life. Such a distracting mentality must be eliminated as soon as possible, yes?
I'd say so, and my methods for overcoming the different forms of writer's block have been said to be quite useful when adopted by others.
How would you rate the level of stress that experiencing writer's block causes you?
The Quick and Easy
Rarely is there a simple answer to big problems, and the same holds true for writer's block, but I'm making this concise little section for those of you who dislike or otherwise struggle reading in-depth articles; I feel you guys, because I struggle to read verbose articles myself and I wish more writers would chop up the meat of their article and provide it in a convenient word-stew right after their introduction. So if you're the type to like it quick and easy, here you go. Chopping up the meat of my article, putting it all together into the figurative stew pot, and serving it to you.
The key to overcoming writer's block is to reignite your passions by immersing yourself in something new, and learn more about the ever-increasing wow! By which I mean learn and experience something new, whether it be something as simple as a new restaurant or approaching a total stranger to learn about their life, you'd be amazed what little triggers can do in the big scheme of overcoming your writer's block. Now I know this seems too simple, and it probably is for most, but for those of us who like it short and sweet it will more than suffice so long as the advice is put into practice.
Reignite your passions by immersing yourself in something new, and learn more about the ever-increasing wow!
If you are looking for a more in-depth explanation and pedantic scrutiny of how to overcome writer's block then rest assured I am going to attempt to give you more than your plate can hold. Writer's block is a severe condition for me, haunting would be exact, as when I cannot create then I feel hopeless and lost within the world. Such serious symptoms stemming from writer's block have led me to develop mechanisms to not only eliminate it but to avoid it altogether. My goal is to share this with you and get your tools in return without judgement on either side as to the correctness of the tools we use. We all know, just because a tool works for you does not mean it will work for the next individual.
How often do you experience writer's block?
Taking Action Against Inaction
The title of this section says it all, if you want to solve your problems with writer's block then first you must take action against your inaction. That is a confusing statement, however, because the condition itself is what is causing you to be inactive to begin with! This oxymoron tends to muddle the solutions to writer's block, but I feel I have mostly solved the oxymoron by avoiding writing altogether. "Avoid writing altogether!?!?!" you may be asking in bewilderment, and yes, I say if you are experiencing writer's block then it is time to step away from writing for a bit, or even for a while. Does this mean to stop thinking about writing? No, and I'd never expect you to because as I said writer's block tends to haunt me when it is occurring, but I know most writers rarely solve their block by writing more.
Avoid writing altogether!
Step one in attempting to solve writer's block, for me personally, is finding interesting works of others' and giving them a good once-over. Soapboxie tends to be the initial launching point for getting my creative juices flowing again, though more often than not I find it getting my adrenaline going more so than my ability to create new works. I go out of my way to read articles that do not align with my own views and opinions, then I like to discuss with the authors as to how they came to their conclusions, and if I am lucky then I will stumble upon something that will see me hitting the notepad and starting a new set of my own writings to counter or support my newfound perspective; there is nothing quite like experiencing the world through someone else's eyes. This rarely works one-hundred percent, and more often I am forced to turn to reading fictional adventures.
There is nothing quite like experiencing the world through someone else's eyes!
If you have not already, I highly advise you go check out, delve into, and possibly even write for the SCP Foundation. The Foundation, as regulars like to call it, is an all-immersive fictional experience created by a plethora of different writers and maintained by a community of professionals. From light-hearted fantasy, to all-out horror, there is something for everyone there; even I have created some of my own SCP files because of how inspirational I find the Foundation to be. Creativity never seems to be lacking at the Foundation, and I assure you that you can find something to inspire your own creative works. My personal favorite is SCP-093, and all of its associated tests and tales.
If the Foundation lets me down, however, I will hop on over to one of my "Warhammer 40k" books and dive into an epic, gruesome adventure with the Adeptus Astartes. Going on a fictional journey through a book such as Helsreach might just have you succumbing to the urge to take part in "the hobby" lesser known as 40k, and sooner than you realize it you'll be hailing the emperor right along with us. I advise Helsreach as the place you pick up in the timeline as a newbie because of how powerful and exciting it is to experience the battles between The Black Templar squadron led by Reclusiarch Grimaldus, and the xenos threat of the orks against Armageddon. It really is an emotional roller coaster from start to finish, and if it doesn't suck you in then I'd be at a loss for words.
Go on an amazing, new fictional adventure!
Oh so rarely does immersing in others' fictional endeavors fail me, but that doesn't change the fact that they do let me down sometimes; I've nearly found myself at a loss for what to try next and wanting to give up and succumb to writer's block depression. As of now I have only one more, near-fail-safe activity to take part in, and it is probably the most stressful but rewarding of the suggestions I have listed here. Go out into the world and meet some new people, and make it a focus to analyze every bit of their dispositions. It could be a short walk to the park, a stroll through the mall, or plopping your behind on a stool at the bar; it doesn't matter in which medium you choose to meet new people only that you actually make the effort to do so.
Go out into the world and meet some new people!
In an effort to get your creative juices flowing through meeting others it is imperative that you look at the world much like you would a play or other work of fiction. Take on a role you wouldn't normally, you could even tell the other person(s) that you are doing so and make somewhat of a game out of it. For example, I like to take on a sort of Casanova, "Don Juan" blend when I interact with people, turning everything into a form of seduction as spoken about within the book, The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene. When I take on the role of seducer, it not only opens me up to new experiences but it opens me up to facets of myself that can't often be explored without being like an actor. Acting in such a way gets me into the mindset of someone else, and thus I see the world through a whole new set of poetically-inclined eyes. Beauty, passion, ambition... it all returns in a rush and suddenly I have the entire world at my finger tips once more and I can hit the keyboard for some inspired writing.
See the world through a new set of poetically-inclined eyes!
How long does your writer's block usually last?
So, What's Your Method?
I know my methods can't work for every individual, and every individual has their own methods for combating writer's block and all the emotions that come with it. I'm always seeking more and more information, especially as it concerns writer's block but rather than reading it in an article or on a blog somewhere I like to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. If you would be so kind as to go in the comment section and tell me how it is you overcome writer's block it would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps in doing so you will help solve my, or another individual's problem with surpassing the limitations of writer's block. I'm currently coming out of a bout of it as I type this, and subsequently shaking the rust off once more.