Help For A Writer: Why I Had Writer's Block & How I Overcame It
I joined the Hubpages writing community in June 2007, and for the longest time my writing flatlined as I had trouble putting ideas together to form decent articles. I had no idea why my mind was such a blank whenever I sat in front of the computer to write. I looked at other writers and wondered how they were writing so many articles in such a short time while I only had 13 articles to show after almost two years.
It was not until a few weeks ago, when Teacher Michelle and I were having our usual lunchtime talks, that the truth about why I was having writer's block finally sunk in.
My insecurity came in two forms:
- I was insecure about my writing ability. I didn't believe my writing was up to par with the other writers. I was always overly conscious about my grammar and other techical writing stuff that it blocked my ideas from flowing.
- I was insecure about my knowledge. I felt like my knowledge on all topics was lacking compared to that of other writers and therefore I wasn't credible enough. Who was I to write about such things?
I now realize that my insecurity stemmed from comparing myself to others. "They write better than I do." "They know more than I do." "I can't compete with them." But it isn't a competition, is it? It isn't a contest to see who writes better or who knows the most. So why was I beating myself up so much?
I'm ashamed to admit, I have the tendency to act like a know-it-all. Probably because it boosts my ego and makes me feel less insecure. I like the feeling of being superior to others. So I tend to not do things which I think I might not be good at it because it would diminish this feeling of "superiority". Subconsciously, I expected people to think less of me when I didn't excel. So I wrote with perfection in mind. Of course, my writing would always fall short of perfection and I would always end up not writing at all. Hence, every single article I started on always ended up getting dumped in the recycle bin. And I slumped into a long "literary depression".
But so what if I don't know a lot of things? Who cares? It was egotistical of me to think that other people would. I needed to get over myself. And I have. Or at least I'm trying.
Having a dominantly melancholy personality, I tend to set standards that are too high. And I impose these unrealistic expectations of perfection on myself. When I fail to meet these standards, which would eventually happen, it would then reinforce my feeling of not being as good as other writers. And the vicious cycle of insecurity would begin.
Now I ask myself: Does it really matter if I can't express myself as eloquently as other writers who are native-English speakers? (English is my second language.) Do I really need to make my articles "perfect" before I publish them? Do people really demand that I write "perfect" articles? And I get three big resounding NOs.
Writer's block for me is a psychological battle. It all goes back to loving and believing in myself. At last, I have broken free of my writer's block, and I am happy to say that I have written and published four new articles this past week: