Thursday, July 7, 2011

Writer's Block and a Cup of Coffee.

So I've found that everyone has their proven methods for curing writer's block. Many of them sound great, but the one thing I've realized is that no one can tell you what will work to cure your writer's block. Writer's block is a personal problem with personal reasons and the solutions are usually personal.

For example, the common "write a train-of-thought' journal doesn't work for me, and a lot of common writing practices only distract me. However, I've come to realize that this isn't so much an issue of not being able to put words on paper, but for me, it's a matter of motivation and distraction. Writing practices are tools for procrastination.

So instead I go to the nearest coffeehouse and grab a cup of coffee. Why? It's a good enough distraction that I feel refreshed, and the caffeine gives me an adrenaline rush that gets my brain moving. I can't just sit and watch TV with a cup of coffee. I have to do something with my hands, so it's easy to reach for my laptop (or a pen and paper) and write.

It may not be the best writing, and it doesn't always work as intended, but a cup of coffee is my (temporary) cure to writer's block. Part of why I like the expensive drink so much.

How can this help you?

Instead of trying to address your writer's block with futile writing practices and hoping something works, my best advice is to figure out why you have writer's block. This can be harder than trying to do train of thought writing, but it's more effective in the long run. Once you can figure out what causes your writer's block, you find it easier to cure it each time it comes up.

To help you figure it out, I'll tell you some of the common reasons that writers get blocked:
  • Motivation: This is my biggest problem. I have always had trouble finding motivation for anything that does not result in instant gratification. Taking the time to do something that will pay off later is too much trouble. Too much anguished artist in me, waiting for my muse to strike me. A good solution to this is to make your own muse or to force you to have no other option but to write.
  • Stress: Life can be stressful, and with too much on your mind, your writing can be blocked by your emotions. Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders count under stress. If you believe that it is caused by a mood disorder, I would recommend talking to a therapist to see if medication or therapy might help you. A good solution for stress is getting your emotions out, such as daily journaling or meditation.
  • Fear: Fear is a big problem for many people, and often times contributes to other problems. Fear of putting yourself out there, of being rejected. This one is actually quite common and contributes to both Stress and Motivation. This is the hardest one to cure, as it is rooted in self-esteem and that is a difficult problem to solve. My best suggestion is to find a supportive writing group, or a friend, someone who will help build up your writing self esteem.
So next time you have writer's block, take the time to figure out why before you start trying every suggestion that's thrown at you. It will help you more than you think.

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