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Writer’s block is a term you’ve probably heard often. The amazing and confusing thing about writer’s block is that people apply the term to drastically different experiences. For many, “writer’s block” means a frustrating but temporary stall in their progress. For some authors, though, the phrase looms nightmarishly large and describes a recurring and debilitating struggle to move ideas from their mind to the page.
Under the pressure of deadlines, almost everyone—from students to professors to creative writers—has experienced some degree of writer’s block. Yet, there is disagreement about whether writer’s block is a dysfunction—a severe breakdown in the normal process by which authors turn ideas into articles, stories, and books. The fabulous and tough-minded novelist, Ann Patchett, in her minibook published by Byliner, The Getaway Car, goes so far as to describe writer’s block, as “a myth . . . invented by people who either don’t want to work or people who aren’t ready to get an idea down on paper.” Patchett worries that the idea of writer’s block has become a kind of a “Get Out of Jail Free card” for authors desperate to avoid the hard slog of writing demands. The good news about the creativity killer is – it has already been reverse engineered. Trying to understand the events that lead to the block will put you in a better position to face it and eventually overcome it. So let’s get started with the 5 of the most common causes.
1. Perfectionism – Most writers aren’t capable of spitting out diamonds in their first draft. So, they make up for it with rough words that fit. You also need to let go of your lazy writing formations and long-winded sentences. Don’t worry about your grammatical and punctuation slip-ups in the first draft of something new. Every time you hit backspace to correct a sentence, you lose rhythm. Then, you lose the idea floating in your head. And then you lose another. Before you know it, the dreadful block will strike. The truth is that your search for perfection will never end. Even after polishing every word, you can craft better versions of your sentences. Shut down your inner editor. Time yourself. Let your imperfection give life to your writing.
2. Fear of past success – You just published a massively successful new post getting thousands of social media shares and a hundred comments. Now, you feel performance pressure. Will you be able to touch the quality of creative inspiration and numbers of your previous content piece? It’s okay to get such anxiety. But don’t dwell over that feeling for a long time. Your job is to write and ship consistently. Writing helps in developing your creative process. Your audience also appreciates professional conduct. And, they anticipate your articles.
3. Fear of rejection – You have a writing hero, right? You model their writing and want to achieve the level of success they have from their own supreme creative moments. But, just as you are about to hit the publish button, you get a strange tingly feeling. You feel your blood flow go cold. A plethora of doubts pour into your head.