HOW TO OVERCOME WRITER’S BLOCK
It got interesting. I opened my PC to start working on this article “How to overcome writers block” and for the first 10 minutes I was just staring at the screen. I played a song when I opened the document, the song ended, another song started and the only thing I have on the screen is still the title. Funny right? I think I had writers block when I have to write on overcoming writers block. I guess we are all in this together.
I think it’s like most of life’s problems; you don’t totally get rid of them, you only find a way to overcome them at the moment and after each victory, you turn out stronger and more confident. And except you are an hybrid of William Shakespeare and Jim Rowlings, then it’s expected that this happens to you sometimes.
We need to understand the fact that the first step in overcoming this challenge is self awareness. Whenever we pick up our notepad and pen to write and nothing seems to come out, we need to be aware of what’s going on. Out of ignorance, we sometimes misconstrue the situation. A guy once told me that the “devil” is powerful because he does not come as the devil. If a guy comes to us with two bloody fangs, a giant horn in the middle of his head and probably a tail between his legs and tells us to strike a deal with him; I guess nobody will take it. But the devil will come as something we can tolerate, and even accommodate sometimes. That’s the same way writer’s block comes. It happens and you’re not even aware of it.
One of the best advices I’ve ever gotten was given by Jordan Harbinger on a podcast when he said “action ends suffering”. In this context, writers block is the suffering and it is by taking action that we can end it. We’ll get back to this in a minute; let’s talk about a major causal of writers block.
The major causal of writers block is…..food…I’m just joking. The major causal of writer’s block is Perfection. How about that. Most writers expect to write out pure gold on their first try. We place so much pressure on ourselves (unknowingly) to deliver an exceedingly great, amazing, revolutionary, mindshifting, shakespeare-worthy, stimulating, tantalizing story EVERYTIME we want to write and the bitter truth is IT DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK LIKE THAT. There are days that you’ll probably write like a 10 year old.
Instead of chasing perfection, what about we focus on progress. There are days you will write pure gold but it is because you have paid your dues, disciplined yourself to have writing routines – writing when you didn’t feel like writing. Writing when you feel like Mike Tyson in punching your PC than Jim Rowlings in writing on the PC. Each victory you have against writers block makes you stronger against the next, though it does not totally remove it.
It is by taking action against writers block that you overcome it. Bestselling author Tim Ferris advised writers to focus on writing through a particular time frame instead of considering the quality of the writing. So let’s say you write everyday by 4pm and that particular day, writers block came to offer you a deal. Set your timer for 30 minutes or whatever works for you then focus on writing for the next 30 minutes. Your goal is to write for the next 30 minutes and not really focus on how inspiring or amazing what you are writing is. The truth is as you write more and more, you start getting more insights and you might discover you’ve gone for more than 30 minutes. You might not have been perfect but there is progress. And if you don’t like what you wrote, delete the page or tear the paper out and give it a try again – at least you now have a much better idea.
As I’m writing this article, I became self-aware that writers block is offering me a deal. I took a deep breath, removed the pressure of writing “the-best-article-on-writers-block-ever-written” and I started typing. I had an initial idea, typed the first paragraph of about 90 words and I deleted it all. I thought about a
perfect suitable introduction again for some minutes and I haven’t stopped typing since then.