Are you standing in your own way? 5 tips for overcoming writer’s block

This is a guest post by Celester Mejia

It is no secret that writing is hard. Sure, words are just there in your head, but what if you can’t find the right words?

I have been writing for four years now, and I haven’t even finished a book that I believe would work on the shelves. There are more than a few reasons for that, such as:

a) I’ve tasted only rejection in my entire writing career

b) The novel I’ve finished didn’t come out as I expected it to become

c) I can’t seem to continue writing what I’ve already started because of writer’s block.

Now let’s focus on problem C.

In the past four years, I’ve started numerous novels. I have a very imaginative mind, as I would like to call it, but I’ve only been really able to finish one novel. At first, I thought that maybe it’s because of writer’s block―that thing that hinders writers from writing anything further. I’m pretty sure that everyone who writes has already experienced that by now. But is it really writer’s block, or is it the writer who’s blocking the words? The words are just there, somewhere inside of us, but why can’t we find the right words?

As a relative newbie in writing, I’ve experienced that a lot of times. Where are the words? Why can’t I continue writing this? Then I realized that maybe, just maybe, it is not writer’s block, but the writer who’s blocking the words. But in any other case―whether it’s the words who are hiding, or we who are blocking them―there are only a few things that we can do to overcome it. I’ve tried these, and all of them seemed to work. Here are the reasons to why we can’t find the words, and what can we do to find them:

1. Stress.
It’s a very common reason. In everything that we do, stress is always an issue. Imagine, it can even affect couples who are trying to conceive. The only solution to this one is to unwind. Rest for a while. Let your mind be at peace for some moment. Resting doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping. Sometimes, resting can mean just being still. Clear your mind from whatever it is that’s bothering you.

2. Lack of inspiration.
How long have you been in front of your computer screen? How long has it been since the last time you went out of your room, and had this thing humans call social life? As a writer, it’s our job to write, yes, but as a person, we need to get out there, too. We write what we know. If the only thing we know is to slouch in front of our desk, then there’s no idea that will really get into our heads. Remember that we give life through words, but we won’t be able to do that if we ourselves don’t have a life. Get up there, and try to appreciate the world.

3. Throwing ideas when they come.
Writers have very imaginative minds. The only problem sometimes is that they come up with an idea, but they fool themselves by thinking that the idea will stay in their head forever. That is, until the light bulb dies. One thing that I can advise here is for each and every one of us to bring at all times a mini-notebook wherever we may go. There are times that I think of ideas while I’m inside a car, or when I’m walking along the streets, or even when I’m already in my bed. Ideas are our tricky friends who show up without even calling, and leave without even saying goodbye. But as the better friends that we are to them, let’s try to remember them. Give them the importance they need, and they’ll stick with us forever.

4. The beginning doesn’t always start at the first chapter.
It’s true! When you can’t find the right beginning, maybe it’s because you still don’t know how the story will go. Beginning lines are the most crucial part in writing. If you can’t write now, maybe you can go build the world your characters are living in. Design the characters first. Put some flavor to them. Which are the good guys, and which are the bad guys? How good the protagonists can be? And what makes the antagonists bad? See? It’s not plotting, my friends. I’m aware that there are pantsers around there somewhere. But it is giving life to your characters. It’s important, because this is how we figure out the kind of characters our characters are. Are they quirky, or are they nerdy? Are they hot, or just hot-headed people? I know you get my point here, so just let your first chapter be blank for now.

5. Forget about the verdict… for now.
Of course, the last one should always be the best one. We are all afraid of being judged! Ha! Who knew? Well, WE ALL KNOW THAT! It’s really nerve-wracking to know that people are out there to give an opinion about our writing. We all love our works, because they are our babies. But let’s forget about the world’s view first. The most important thing is how we view our work, and how our work views us. The only thing we can do is to love our characters because that’s the only thing we can do for them to love us back. Take care of them carefully, and I’m certain that the world will take very good care of their words about you and your works.

 

About this post’s author:

Celester Mejia began reading at the age of he-doesn’t-know-because-he’s-busy-reading-books. The first book he is able to read was a picture book about Peter Pan. He could still remember himself correcting and adding stories in that Peter Pan book, even though he had very bad English grammar back then. For a few years, he stopped reading books, until his teenage years when he rediscovered that lost love! When he was 16, he began writing his own books and has never stopped since then. Celester is now busy writing his own books, updating his Facebook page, tweeting celebrities, and blogging. He is currently a Communication Arts student in the Philippines.


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