Yes, I’ve still got writer’s block. But, instead of making yet another sketchbook-based filler post, I thought that I’d try to make sure that today’s uninspired filler article was a little bit more imaginative.
And, well, what better to talk about than writer’s block itself? You see, writer’s block isn’t just one thing – there are lots of different types of writer’s block out there and it can be useful to know which one you’re dealing with if you want to find a way to get around it.
So, I thought that I’d give you a list of some of the different types of writer’s block that I’ve encountered over the years and offer a few tips about how to deal with them. This isn’t a complete list, but I hope that it is useful nonetheless.
Anyway, let’s get started…
1) Unenthusiasm: This is the type of writer’s block that I experienced shortly before I wrote this article and, as the name suggests, it means that you have absolutely no enthusiasm for writing whatsoever.
It’s the kind of writer’s block which makes writing feel like a dreary, arduous chore that must be avoided at all costs.
Generally, this type of writer’s block happens because of emotional reasons. If you’re in a miserable mood of any kind, then it can be hard to muster up enthusiasm for anything – let alone writing.
So, one of the ways to deal with this type of writer’s block is to find a way to feel better and, with any luck, your enthusiasm for writing will return.
Another way to deal with this type of writer’s block is to get creative and come up with an idea for something that feels like it will be easy or fun to write. In other words, go for the laziest type of writing that you can get away with. Yes, you probably won’t write anything great – but at least you’ll write something.
Finally, another way of dealing with this type of writer’s block is to just listen to some suitably badass music (like this song), grit your teeth and force yourself to write.
2) No Ideas: This is probably the most common type of writer’s block and it happens when you can’t think of any good ideas for what to write. Luckily, there are literally hundreds of ways that you can deal with this particular type of writer’s block.
You can do something fun and aimless until an idea pops into your mind, you can recycle/re -write some of your earlier work, you can spend a while daydreaming, you can try to write something totally different to what you normally write, you can write about writer’s block itself, you can light scented candles, you can look at writing prompts etc…
Seriously, there is no shortage of advice out there when it comes to dealing with this particular type of writer’s block.
3) Self-criticism: This is probably one of the nastier types of writer’s block because, although you can still write stuff, you end up abandoning it fairly quickly because you think that it “isn’t good enough”. And, after a couple of failed attempts at writing something, it can be very easy to start losing confidence in your abilities as a writer.
Ironically, one of the best ways of dealing with this kind of writer’s block is to set yourself a deadline and try to meet it. When you’ve got to write something within a certain time period, then you’ll be a lot more focused on actually meeting the deadline than you will be on whether your writing is “good enough” or not.
A slightly more gentle way of getting round this type of writer’s block is to write something that you know you can write well. In other words, write something that is “easy” for you to write well in order to reassure yourself that you can still write.
4) Self-censorship: if you’re constantly worried about what people will think of your writing, then it can be very easy to fall into a pattern of writing bland, emotionless and inoffensive stuff. After a while, you will probably end up getting bored by your own writing and this will manifest itself as writer’s block.
The best way to deal with this type of writer’s block is to remind yourself of why you started writing in the first place by writing something for your own personal enjoyment. Write something that you would never dare to show anyone else in a million years. Make it as weird, shocking, subversive, pornographic, cynical and/or introspective as you want.
Trust me, you’ll have a hell of a lot of fun doing this – and, best of all, it will also rekindle your passion for writing. And, well, some of that enthusiasm may carry over into your “bland” writing for a while at least.
5) Idolatry: No, I’m not talking about worshipping ornate golden statues of Ba’al or badly-made paper mache effigies of the elder god Cthulhu or anything like that.
I’m talking about comparing yourself to your favourite famous writers and feeling inadequate. This is the kind of writer’s block which can happen when you think “I’ll never be as good as my favourite writer!”
There are quite a few ways to deal with this type of writer’s block. One way to deal with it is to look around online for any badly-written things by your favourite writer to remind yourself that they weren’t always talented. You see, even the best writers started out by writing terrible stuff and they gradually got better at writing by practicing a lot.
You can also let your own writing style be slightly inspired by their writing style. Don’t try to copy your favourite writer’s style exactly (because you will just end up producing second-rate fan fiction), but take a close look at what makes their writing so great and see if you can find a way to incorporate this into your own unique style.
Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂