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In a Rut: Common Causes of Writer's Block
Aug 27, 2021
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The feeling of being unable to write is commonly referred to as "writer's block." Writers of various types, including full pro writers, academics and students, those working on their own creative endeavors, and anyone who has to produce written work as part of a job, might experience writer's block. For some individuals, writer's block can entail being unable to write at all. Others may experience a decline in the amount of writing they do or a sense that writing is much more complex than it used to be. You would be unable to create new material or complete an existing article if you suffer from writer's block. You can feel that your thoughts have grown cloudy, you've run out of ideas, and irritation has crept in. It's like getting lost in a labyrinth and recognizing you've taken the wrong path only to come to a halt; you've encountered a mental block. Even excellent writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald have been known to suffer from writer's block.

Lack of certainty, exploration, and a willingness to create things from the depths of who we are are all inherent in the craft of writing. Writing is a psychologically demanding profession that requires a higher level of difficulty and cognitive effort than many other occupations. Many adults dislike thinking; once they have a job that pays well and makes them somewhat happy, they choose to live in a psychologically detached world where they can do their job without thinking hard. However, writers must ponder and consider hard before revising and selling their work. So, simply assuming that everything would go smoothly is a mistake.

Although writer's block is not a recognized mental health disorder, it can be linked to the symptoms of other problems such as anxiety. Working with a therapist to combat writer's block symptoms and get your writing back on track might be a beneficial strategy to deal with some of these symptoms. It's impossible to say how widespread writer's block is since there isn't a universal definition. Even the best and most productive authors experience a demoralizing lack of steam. Even while it's normal and anticipated, it's important not to dwell on it.

Man thinking on couch with writer's block

Causes

Writer's block can be affected by a multitude of factors. We'll look at a few of the more prevalent ones here to help you understand what's keeping you from writing right now if that's the case. We'll also make some recommendations for how to fix it.

Burn Out

Likely, you'll simply burn out due to the amount of effort you're putting in. But don't be too hard on yourself. Your mind and body ought to balance periods of activity with recovery periods to function correctly. You'll be able to take care of yourself and overcome writer's block in no time if you recognize that. For a while, try not to worry about your writing. Instead, unwind, replenish your batteries, and enjoy yourself by going on walks, watching movies, spending time with friends, and sleeping. Self-care is crucial. Your passion for writing should return once you've regained your strength.

Responsibilities and Desires

You want to do much with your writing, but you have family obligations, restricted time, or limited funds. You also want to travel, art, or get your MBA in graduate school. We often assume that the vital things we would like to do cancel out the other significant things we want to accomplish, but this isn't always the case - and by thinking differently about our alternatives, we can see avenues we hadn't previously considered. If you want to travel and write, find something that lets you write about traveling. You don't have to figure out everything right now. Continue to peel back the curtains, look ahead, and experiment with various strategies to bring you where you want to go. 

Distractions

Most of us have work, partners, children, and commitments that take up a significant portion of our mental capacity. Far too many other things may be on your mind if your productivity has halted or your stress level has reached new heights. Unless you're one of the few people who always write no matter when you'll have times in your life when sticking to a writing schedule is unrealistic. It's sometimes necessary to just put the actual writing on hold. Rather than feeling like a failure writer, be calm and compassionate to yourself as you wait for things to improve.

Confused woman looking at laptop screen, doing difficult computer work

Medical Conditions

Medical disorders that go undetected might make it difficult to concentrate and write. There are, nevertheless, options for treatment. Your cognitive ability and writing should recover after you get your health back in shape.

Expectations

After a significant success, many prominent writers have had writer's block. In many cases, their first breakout work was personal and enjoyable. Still, they felt pressured to write a sequel that was as excellent as or superior to the first, resulting in significant analytical paralysis. You can control those unreasonable expectations no matter how much or how little you've written before by focusing on making writing enjoyable for yourself and pacifying your inner critic. Bear in mind why you began writing in the first place. Remind yourself of how satisfying it is to write. Most importantly, get something down on the page. You can always go back and make changes.

Depression

Writing can feel like hauling a bulldozer out of a mudslide with your bare hands when we're struggling from clinical, medically diagnosed depression. Depression treatment will not leave you less profound, but it will make you more effective. We often assume that our depression makes us meaningful because we need to believe that our suffering is worthwhile. Seek help if you've been depressed for more than a few weeks. Your writing will be grateful.

Frustration

Your ideas frustrate you, as do the roadblocks in your way, rejections, anticipation, and the energy it costs to keep going. Frustration is merely your brain's way of notifying you when things aren't going as planned. There is no "correct" way for your writing to proceed, only how it is going. It's challenging to write. This is for everyone. You'll be better off and less upset if you can quit expecting things to be easy for you.

Kana Bamboo Standing Desk

What You Can Do

If you have trouble writing, try one or more of the following suggestions to become unstuck:

  • Speak with a coworker, editor, or advisor: Getting a second opinion on your work from someone you trust can be a terrific approach to gain new knowledge.
  • Therapy: Therapy might assist you in better understanding your writer's block and developing techniques to overcome it.
  • Stay active: According to several research, frequent physical activity might help reduce anxious feelings, typically associated with writer's block. There are many innovations in the market that are not just perfect for office employees or desk jobs but also work great for the likes of writers to promote mobility. Sit-stand desks and under-desk bikes have been a buzz as they make it easier and more convenient for desk job workers or even creative professionals such as writers, designers, or architects to switch positions, stretch, and move around even when you're stuck and focused on your tasks, writing, and designs. Click here for the best sit-stand desks and desk bikes!
  • Pursue other interests: The solution to writer's block isn't always to write. Allowing yourself to take a break and focus on something different that you enjoy than writing. You might also engage in other creative pursuits such as art or music, take a long stroll, or simply read for pleasure. Even a simple evening spent doing nothing can be beneficial.
  • Become a writing group member: Having a network of other authors or freelance writers to hold you responsible can help you get through the tough times. In addition, your writing group might provide emotional support from people who understand your situation.

Rather than feeling like a failure of a writer, be patient and gentle with yourself as you wait for things to improve. The less you stress about it and put a bad spin on it, the more small windows of opportunity will appear. And, because you've been diligent in priming your writing brain, you could find it easier to write than you anticipated.