The Writers’ Block

Many a time, writers are found in deep thought, making others wonder, what is going on in their minds. What does a writer think about? Is it always about what to write next? Is he always contemplating the next big book?

When writers start thinking, they cease absorbing information from their surroundings. They enter their Writers’ World, where there are no boundaries, no disturbing factors and no diversions to deal with. In this world, they travel far and wide, making little notes about interesting things to comment on, anecdotes to write, and views to express. The product of this journey is the great work published by a good writer. While in this stage, the writer is oblivious to his surroundings, and does not care about what is happening around or who is speaking to him. His near and dear ones make peace with ‘those’ days when he is totally lost in oblivion.

Once in a while, writers face what is called The Writers’ Block. Oh, there are all sorts of blocks, for ex, the Painters’ Block for painters. What is this block we are talking about? It is a situation, where an artist’s mind stops churning new ideas; in fact, any kind of ideas. For a writer, it happens when he is working on something, and is unable to continue with the work. The mind, kind of shuts down, and stops ‘thinking’. This may happen even when the writer is not in the middle of a work, and in the process of starting a new book/article. Although this condition is temporary, it is the most irritating period for a writer to face. Two factors that contribute to writers’ block are lack of creativity and inspiration. Also, some times, the writers’ socio-psychological environment could be responsible for the same. While some writers use writing to vent their feelings during acute depression, some writers face a blocked mind, due to the anxiety and depression. When a large book is being written, the author could lose touch with some of his characters, and thus, encounters a temporary block, which disintegrates when a quick revision ensues. Conflicting feelings also result in writers’ block.

How does a writer face this situation?
There are many ways to overcome writers’ block.

1. Take a vacation to a new spot.
2. Meet new people and discuss large variety of topics.
3. Join clubs.
4. Trying out an entirely new hobby, such as painting/carpentry.
5. Making graphical sketches/flow charts of all the characters of the incomplete story to re-analyse the plot.
6. Rearranging the written content of an incomplete article into bulleted lists/tables to reorganise thoughts.
7. Practise “Freewriting”, which is a process of indulging in a continuous unrelated writing spree. The writer just scribbles every thought on his mind without regard to content, context, spelling and grammar. If he is stuck up, he just writes that… “I am stuck up, and hungry…” and so on. Freewriting allows the writer to hop between unrelated topics.
8. If the block is due to negative feelings/low self esteem, it does good to read some inspiring books or quotes.
9. When a writer is surrounded by people who are always creating noise/fighting/kids, he may contemplate setting up an office or a different place for writing. Writing in the lap of nature does wonders.
10. Learn to focus, meditate if necessary.
11. If you are stuck up on a good word/sentence and refuse to move further until you find it, then, you are in a sort of a block. Be flexible. Accept a less perfect sentence and visit it later to refine it if possible.
12. Finally, never accept that it is writers’ block that is stopping you from moving ahead!! Half the battle is won.

The last word, the more a writer thinks about the writers block, the stronger the block becomes. So, if a writer feels like throwing the pen away, it sometimes pays to just that. That is a good time to return to civilization. People, near & dear, friends, kids are all waiting eternally for the writer to change skin… to give them some time. Writers block is a good excuse to indulge with family and friends. Why not use it to our advantage, rather than fret over it?

© Punam J R., all rights reserved.

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If you have 'walked with me into the woods', a blog post at a time, do tell me how you felt in the comments section below :)

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