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The Pros of Having A Writing Block

Updated on September 18, 2014


Writer’s block is an unfortunate part of writing. It does not matter if you are writing for school, work, or just for fun, eventually you may find yourself in one of these blocks. It can happen before you start working on the piece or can happen when you have less than one paragraph left to go. It can be extremely annoying and can press a lot of stress on the writer to find a way to get out from the rut they are in. It can make it even more stressful than there is a fast approaching deadline that the writer needs to hit. This article is not going to be about how to get rid of the writer’s block but rather how to embrace it and use it to your advantage to make the story or essay a stronger and more put together piece.

What is Writer's Block?

Writing Block is explained in the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary as a psychological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece (2014). What this simply means is that for whatever reason, a writer is unable to continue to work on their piece and put full effort into it. They get stuck at a certain point and have problems trying to focus back in their story or essay. Anybody who has tried to push through their writer’s block by continuing writing usually is less than happy with the outline. It simply does not work. Either it is less descriptive or it is going into a different direction than what the author has in mind to begin with. The main thing to take from this is that if your mind blanks out or you cannot translate the story you see in your mind to words then your brain is telling you to step away from the project.

Biggest Advice, step away

If your mind is blank or if your words are not getting translated from your head to paper than your brain is telling you to step away. So biggest advice is, if you are in a writer’s block, put down the pen or step away from the keyboard. Exercise, go and hang out with friends, have a romantic dinner with a lover, watch television, sing, whatever you like to do for fun, just spend some time doing it. Do not think about the huge essay due in three weeks or getting a short story out to a publisher. Just spend one night or day just relaxing.

Sometimes it really is as simple as taking a day off from writing for the writing block to disappear. The next day sit back at your computer or notebook and see if inspiration flows again. If not then go back and look carefully at what you have written.

One of the easiest tasks to do when I am in this pickle is clean. Not only does this give you time to think, daydream, and get ideas, but your body is in motion. What this means is that your blood is flowing more, you feel energized, and by being in a clean environment, most people like me are calmer and more relaxed and do not feel guilty for sitting down and focusing.


A Great Book With Tips About Plotting

Look at your Outline

The first thing to do is to make sure you are on track by checking your outline. If you did not write an outline before starting to write then you should do it now. Most writing blocks happen do to a lack of knowing what will come next. If this happens, it is good to recheck your outline and see if you changed anything that could have offset your whole plot. For instance, a plot for a short story might be that parents want to give their son a dog for Christmas but all they could find was a cat. When the boy finds out he is upset and ends up accepting and learning to love a cat. The writer may be stuck in the story at Christmas portion because the boy was written being excitement so the original drama disappeared from the story.

The outline mat also be too vague. It is good to leave some room open for small ideas that pop in your mind to be allowed to be written in but you do not want an outline so vague that there is not really that much information to go by.

The same example can be used here. The outline: boy wants dog -> parents get cat-> boy freaks out->boy learns to love cat is very vague. Why did the parents only find a cat at the pet store? Why did they buy it when they know the boy wanted a dog? How badly did the boy freak out? What caused the boy to start liking the cat? There are too many different scenarios that can influence this story that can make the author feel like they are lacking direction.

A better plot would be that: The boy wants a dog because he sees how much his best friend loves his dog when he visited him on Christmas Eve. The parents decide to go ahead and get them the dog but the only petstore open had sold out on dogs and instead showed them a couple of kittens. The parents chose a kitten that fetches like a dog would, think the cat was so interesting and different that their son might like her. On Christmas, the boy spots the cat and feels disappointed that it is not a dog but still tries to act happy for his parents. It is not until the kitten fetches a cat toy that the boy started to be open to the idea of having a kitten. This outline leaves enough open for ideas to enhance the story but it is detailed enough so the writer knows what the major events will happen. Since it is narrow, the writer will be able to know exactly what happens during every point of the story, making it easier to have a clear pathway for the writer to write.

If you find yourself in a writer’s block take a look at the outline, or make one, and make sure every major event is in the outline. Sometimes just by reworking the outline can push life back into your story and your writer’s block will vanish.


Work on another Story or Essay

Every writer probably has hundreds if not more story ideas running through their heads throughout the day. College and high school students probably have more than one essay assignment to work on a given time. Also everyday life inspires art. you might get an idea on your way to work, or something your lover said, or what you observe by looking out your window. If you have an idea write it down and in times of writer’s block, bring it out. Sometimes when we focus on something for too long it gets overwhelming. So take a break and write poetry, a song, write a short story about the ladybug that you found at a park, write a story about a nasty disease getting out, really anything. Sometimes the new story will just bring out a level of excitement that can carry over to the piece you have writer’s block with and can make you power through it.

If Everything Fails, Just Finish

I know I said earlier that pushing through a writer's block is never a good thing but by pushing through it and just writing, eventually you will break free. Sure there might be three or four pages or a whole chapter that you are unhappy with and want to change, but at least it is over. Editing it can solve the problems pushing through with the writer's block but you have beat it.It may be a frustrating and exhausting process but it can be done.

In Conclusion

Writing blocks is a natural part of writing. Everybody from famous writers to school children have this issue. Although many writers consider this a sign of doom or failure, it is completely normal experience and quite common. The main thing to remember, we as human beings are meant to do many different things throughout the day and so for us who loves to write, we have to remember that our minds and hands need rest and there is so many other things that can be done. So make sure you take breaks, even if it is to play with your pets or water plants, take some time away. Also work on perfecting plot lines and outlines to the point where it is so clear what your plot is that you have everything major lined up. And finally remember, sometimes you just have to push through it.

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