From time to time, I experience this dreadful thing called writer’s block.
When it happens, it’s not as straightforward as just not being able to write. It usually a result of three things:
- The obvious: work and/or life’s responsibilities where there is just not enough time in the day to write (in these cases I have to make a real effort to carve out time to write by writing myself emails at work, waking up extra early on weekends, cancelling plans with friends, basically becoming a hermit.)
- The research: When I’m writing something, feeling completely in flow, and then I reach the part where I need to back up my ideas with research and I’m not in a research mood. It’s a complete buzzkill to creativity.
- The lack of inspiration: This is the worst of all cases and scares me deeply, it’s difficult to even talk about it. It fills me with fear when I go weeks without any ideas to write about. I start thinking that I’ll never write again, that I was never any good, that there is no point. Then, out of nowhere, a new idea is born and the hunger to write starts all over again.
There are always ideas floating around in my mind wanting to be released, but they vary in magnitude and intensity.
The little ones are like tugs in my chest and they are perfect for short and snappy Instagram posts. But they usually aren’t very satisfying. The best is when thoughts form together in a giant tsunami, all swimming in form making it feel as though my head is expanding by keeping it all inside. It’s an amazing feeling when this happens, it’s all I can think about and I start to slowly cancel plans and lock myself away until I pull it out of my mind. It’s becoming harder and harder to make time for this though.
In fact, the more I write, the more I empathise with Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie ‘The Shining’ and how the poor guy just wants to write but everyone keeps bothering him. I have so much more respect for writers as I get older. It’s a huge undertaking to make the time to write. Everyone in the writer’s life, particularly romantic relationships and children, must take a back seat while the words are extracted from their head.
But ultimately, writing is the most addictive, intoxicating release when it happens. It is a drug. If you are the type of person who loves to write, but tends to get too caught up in overthinking or self-criticism to finish anything, then read on.
I guarantee it will make you want to dash for the computer and get those thoughts onto paper…
“There is nothing to writing… All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
― Ernest Hemingway
“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
― Franz Kafka
“The most important thing for a writer to do is to write. It really doesn’t matter what you write as long as you are able to write fluidly, very quickly, very effortlessly. It needs to become not second nature but really first nature to you. And read; you need to read and you need to read excellent books and then some bad books. Not as many bad books, but some bad books, so that you can see what both look like and why both are what they are.”
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath
“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”
― Joan Didion
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou
“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
— Virginia Woolf
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”
— Franz Kafka
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
— Anne Frank
“So this is why I write. Because most times, your life isn’t funny the first time through. Most times, you can hardly stand it.
That’s why I write, because life never works except in retrospect. And writing makes you look back. Because since you can’t control life, at least you can control your version.”
“The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It’s not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work.”
― Augusten Burroughs
“Ideas are cheap. It’s the execution that is all important.”
— George R.R. Martin
“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.”
— Natalie Goldberg
“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
— Anton Chekhov