Thursday, January 24, 2008

Chipping Away Your Writer's Block

In almost every writer's forum, the deplorable perennial problem of writer's block has always been brought up by both professional and amateur creative writers. Some discussions have gone as deep as defining the nature of writer's block. In case a writer's block (a.k.a. "fear-of-the-blank-page") should come up in the middle of the deadline, the writer will be able to hopefully do something about it.

But what is a writer's block? On the surface, it is simply a period of non-activity for the writer. A writer or a poet may attempt to write something based on the need to write something, but then they come up with absolutely nothing! What causes a writer's block and what can be done about it? Here are some thoughts and suggestions:

1. The fear of coming up short from their last project - Collectively speaking, most artists and writers have an obsessive compulsion to concretize and materialize, through their works, abstracted thoughts and ideas. Once they start at some project, there is always that fear of producing something despairingly short of what they have intended to create. Thus, they become disappointed in themselves. If artistic or writer's block does not happen prior to the start of the project, it may also very well occur while the work is in process. This explains why several writers may work on different projects at the same time and jumping from one unfinished work to another. Some even abandon previous works altogether for a new one but ultimately end up not accomplishing anything in the end.

2. A comeback after a long time off - Vacations and some time off taking care of familial/domestic or personal matters can only have two extreme results: either it rejuvenates, recharges and inspires the writer for the next project, or it completely diminishes or finishes off whatever is left of a prolific and fecund mind! Let's face it, even professional writers are, first and foremost, human beings before they are writers. And, as humans, writers too are bound to lose footing once they have taken some time off from writing, if not inspired and recharged, as mentioned.

3. Insecurities - Lack of formal training...Being a newbie...The writing style...a friend who's a better writer...etc., etc., etc., these can all spell one thing: insecurities. Our insecurities can really work nasty for writers. We know there is no other way out other than a paradigm shift or a change in perspective for the writer. We know that there will always be other people more educated, more renowned in the creative writing field. We know there will always be writers who are relatively better than us, other trends and styles in writing which the we can become unfamiliar and intimidated with. However, the bottomline is that it is just a matter of gritting your teeth with some decision-making: to write or not to write?

4. Bills to pay, daily tasks, and other small details - Where do I get the money for the bills? Who brings and fetches the children to and from school? For writers with actual day jobs and many deadlines to meet, who can still think of writing? These concerns, to mention only a few, hampers the writer's writer's sensitive thoughts. These are practical things that need to be done on the daily basis. On the surface, these concerns may seem harmless to an aspiring writer. However, eventually, these daily concerns will dry up the creative writer's reservoir that needs constant nurturing. This is not to say, however, that children, career and domestic chores and other concerns should no longer be tended to in order to write. Being a great writer does not necessarily entail shunning away from daily practical concerns, in the same manner that a person with no other daily duties does not guarantee a prolific writer. Difficult for the right-brained writer as it may be, time must be managed. Schedules and systems must be established in order to attain the perfect juxtaposition and equilibrium of work (chores and responsibilities) and play (writing).

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