The bane of every writer’s existence is writer’s block, but what is it? Google defines it as:
the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.
Some argue there are many different types of writer’s block, but for the sake of this post, I’m going to be referring exclusively to the above definition as it pertains to myself.
Put simply; it doesn’t bother me.
Disclaimer: This post is about my personal experiences as a writer, and I am aware that I am weird as fuck and my personal opinions/outlook do not pertain to the general public.
Now some people believe writer’s block is just an excuse or a myth/lie, and I kind of agree with them, and I kind of don’t. I do feel like people use writer’s block as an excuse far too often when in actuality, they just aren’t serious about writing. If you’re only unmotivated to write, yes, that might be writer’s block, but if you’re unmotivated in EVERYTHING you do, you never finish a project, you rarely (if ever) follow through with your ideas/hobbies, then no, you don’t have writer’s block. You might be a very unfocused individual, but if that’s in all facets of your life, not just writing, don’t blame writer’s block.
One good example of this is my late mother. She had all kinds of “creative ideas” and “hobbies.” She’d go out and buy crafting supplies but rarely finished anything she started. Some projects she’d complete, but if they were difficult or more unenjoyable than she anticipated, she’d never do them again. She also liked to imagine that someday she’d write some great novel. She even went out and bought floppy disks just to save it on (yes, this was a long time ago), and proceeded to never write so much as a single word. I’ve known a LOT of people like this. They’re never really committed to any of their “ideas,” but boy, they’re quick to say they’ve got writer’s block when they don’t have anything to show for themselves. The truth is, is that they’re not serious about writing. Some people like the “idea” of being a writer, but lack the commitment/desire to buckle down and actually write a story and “writer’s block” is always the convenient excuse.
But writer’s block is very real for some. Maybe you have a premise, but no idea how to execute it, or maybe you love writing and want to write, but the inspiration bank is empty. Coming up with a creative and original idea for a story isn’t easy for some people. Maybe you’re a pantser, and your story started with gusto, but you burn out in the middle and don’t know how to finish it. Sometimes the Muse is a stubborn fickle bitch who takes a vacation and leaves you stranded with nothing but an empty page on a word processor. It can happen to anyone, and in those cases, yes, that’s writer’s block.
So why don’t I suffer from writer’s block?
BECAUSE I FUCKING LOVE WRITING! Two things give my life purpose and fill me with the thrill of exhilaration that I get nowhere else, and that’s traveling to new places and writing.
I have always been a creatively driven person. I have an innate need to artistically express myself, to make something from nothing, to give something to the world that only I can give. Over the years I have experimented with many forms of creation: 2D art, 3D art, graphics, website design, crafts, makeup artistry, and sewing. I dedicated myself to these things and finished many projects and enjoyed every moment of my ability to be creative. But of all the creative outlets I’ve ever enjoyed, nothing has ever made as deep and lasting of an impact, or meant as much to me, as my ability to write. Those other creative outlets are limited, but with writing the only limit is my imagination, and I am someone with A LOT of stories to tell. I have ALWAYS been a very imaginative storyteller. When I sleep fantastic ideas and images come to me in my subconscious. When I’m awake, my mind thinks of ideas, characters, and tales of adventure just waiting to be born. I come up with stories in the shower, in my car, when I’m taking a walk. EVERYWHERE! If I didn’t get this shit out of my head, I will EXPLODE!
I have more creative ideas and stories than I know what to do with, and so I MUST write. This is not a whimsical fancy, a hobby, or an idle past-time. I went to college and studied English Lit JUST to be a better writer, and I obsess about it constantly. Writing is my life! It’s what I love more than anything. It’s what brings me the greatest joy. I am chomping at the bit to get started on book 3 of my series and start the several novels that I have planned after that. I had to use every ounce of self-control not to interrupt book 2 to write a bunch of short stories. I am frustrated as HELL that I had to take a break from writing to work on editing and to make time for moving cross-country. I am salty as fuck that being a writer involves so many time-consuming non-writing related tasks. Even if I never become rich or famous, and nobody ever reads my work – this is something I need to do, something I want to do.
Another thing that helps me avoid writer’s block is that I’m a plotter, not a pantser. Being a pantser may work for some people, but it would never work for me. When I come up with an idea for a story, I come up with a FULL story. I know the beginning, middle, and end. I know what characters it needs and what scenes have to take place to progress the story. I start with a rough plot outline, and I usually refine and add details once or twice more during the story-writing process to where I know all the vital scenes, what order they take place, and roughly everything that needs to happen to advance the story. I think ahead, and I always work with a plan.
Sure, there are moments when I get distracted, or when I don’t have the time, and yes, I procrastinate on occasion, but I don’t consider that writer’s block because I know what to write and I want to write. We’re all human, and we have our lazy days or the days when life keeps kicking our ass and never lets us have a minute off our feet, but again, I don’t consider that to be writer’s block – that’s just life. That’s being human. To be human and live a human life is not the same as suffering from writer’s block. I’m not out of ideas, and I know how to get the led out. There’s nothing stopping me.