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Getting Over Writer’s Block

‘Writer’s Block’ is a condition whereby you just cant seem to get the words out. You sit down to brainstorm and nothing happens. You try to think but nothing comes to you. You have an essay or a letter or a story to write but no ideas seem to flow.

There are different degrees to which you can be affected by writer’s block, but the cause is always the same: Fear.

Fear of writing shit. Fear of writing improper sentences and unacceptable statements. Fear of writing anything that won’t accomplish the important task you have set before you. And the worst part is, it always seems to get more severe as the importance of the task increases.

Writer’s Block arises as a result of over-regulation of your own words. The words are there – they are trying to come out, but you are subconsciously filtering out anything that conflicts with what you think you should say.

Writer’s Block is really common because it’s an extension of a normal cognitive function – filtering what you say. You’ve probably noticed yourself filtering your words in conversation with particular people. Maybe you have a best friend who you can say ‘anything’ to. Maybe you have a sensitive parent who you desperately filter the truth from. What they think of you is important, so you more closely filter what you say.

Now you have to write a really important essay or story which will determine the next phase of your life. Is it any wonder you are stifling yourself?

Don’t worry. It’s normal. And with a bit of courage it is easy to get over.

How to get over Writer’s Block? – Let go. Write the things you are afraid to write. Practice opening the release valve through the process of free-writing.

Get some paper and hold a pen softly in your hand. Then put your pen to the page and just let your hand go. Watch as your hand starts to write.

For a short period of time, refrain from modifying anything that comes out. Don’t filter. Don’t edit. Don’t try to do or say anything in particular. Just leave the pen on the page and watch as your hand starts to write. It might take a moment for your pen to start moving. Take a deep breath, relax and just allow your fingers to move the pen when they are ready.

What comes out may be jibberish. That’s ok. There is no purpose to this writing other than to practice letting go. You are so used to filtering your words from yourself – now just allow the nonsense to flow. Some of it might be meaningful. Some of it might not. It doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you practice getting out of your own way.

It’s cool if you want to burn the page afterwards, as you may find some of your darkest secrets come pouring onto the page as you write. If you see exactly the words you never wanted to read staring right up back at you, then you know you’ve found the source of the blockage. There are things in your mind you do not want to think about. Things you don’t want to say or admit to yourself. If you can get them down on paper and out of the way your writing will automatically flow more easily. Free-writing is an effective exercise because allows you to get past blockages without necessarily knowing what they are.

So if you’re feeling stuck, and maybe a little bit brave, then why not give it a try? It only takes a few minutes and I guarantee you will be pleasantly disturbed!