It’s around 10 p.m. The room is messed up. I have multiple books piled up on my table. All my belonging’s from studying materials to utensils are on the same table. This randomness of things is adding flavor to my anxiety. I haven’t had a satisfying kind of sleep since last week due to overlapped multiple priorities. But, I can’t sleep. I am sitting in front of my laptop to write about Writer’s Block as a college Professional Assignment. My deadline to submit the assignment is approaching. And, if I have to submit the assignment on time, then I have to wake up until the assignment is over. I can’t opt to sleep because my priority is to be punctual and I will not entertain excuses to myself. But, the reality is I am not being able to draft a single paragraph since half an hour. The duality to sleep or to write is lingering around. The night is peaceful but right now I am not. The clock is ticking continuously which is making me more nervous. I am staring at the wall completely in a numb situation waiting to regain the energy to write. And, nothing is helping right now.
The real scenario is a demonstration of writer who is struggling to do his assignments which is coined as Writer’s Block. Writer’s Block is dangerous leap which will put any person in a paralyzing state and one of therapist based on Los Angel says that 2/3rd of her patients are writers out of which 75% mostly suffer from Writer’s Block. However reading the interviews of Brad Meltzer, Julianna Bagoott , Steve Almond, Lorre Loung and Lind Wasmer Andrews (Cleave, 2016), it makes me conclude that writer’s block is normal and in the process of writing everyone have to go through it. Writing block is an inabality which doesn’t let us start or continue to write due to reasons which doesn’t include lacking of basic skills and commitment. The measurement of writing block include productivity achieved and time invested during the process of writing. And, I was productiveless for half an hour failing to have fleucy in my assignments.
CAUSES OF WRITER’S BLOCK
- Mental instability: In professional work, most of the times we are occupied with tons and tons of work which might include from researching, reading, writing, analyzing and making decisions. The mental transition from one work to other sometime is so exhausting that our creative zone which enables us to write gets blocked. The reason behind procrastination and ineffectiveness is due to this instablity. In the above case, my mind is being instable because of dual thoughts and I was not being able to decide for myself.
- Distracting environment: Most writers do have a preference about the kind of environment that is feasible for them to write. It’s the environment that decides the content, a writer will produce in most of the cases. On failure to get one of their preference will delay the writing like in the case of Julianna Baggott who took 18 years to publish a novel name , “The Seventh Book of Wonders”. In the above opening example, I was much more distracted by the environment which was created by myself; I was chatting with my friends online, listening to songs and as well forcing to do my assignments. The environment didn’t allowed me to focus on my assignments which blocked my creative side of writing.
- Perfection Attitude: We often misuderstand that a 10 minutes read article would have taken 10 minutes to write as well. Most of the times we see output and miss out the process which boost our perfection attitude. We are not aware that in the process, it has been drafted multiple times, made profreading edits and then with several hours of investment it gets finalized. (Boice, 1993) This behavior leads us to think that our writing must be perfect in one attempt which is another main cause of writer’s block.
OVERCOME WRITER’S BLOCK
- Accept and move one: Nathaniel Branden has beautifully expressed that, “The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance”. It essential to accept our own struggle to write and act on our convenient way. Forcing yourself to write when you know, you can’t; will only make you less productive. So taking a break might be a best option which will enable our creative zone in next attempt. In my own example, I closed my eyes, listened to some Buddhist chants for 1 hours and then came back to do my assignment. When I came back later, it helped me to focus on my assignments.
- Allow yourself to vulnerable: Most of time we restrict ourselves to express fully because we feel our writing will be a source of personality judgment. This kind of assumption will not lead us to be a great writer. While writing allow yourself to do mistakes with spelling, grammars and punctuations. Whatever and however ideas come just express yourself at the best level. Remember what Scott Adams said, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep”. And we should accept ourselves as perfectly imperfect human beings. While doing this assignment, I scribbled my thoughts on the paper multiple times which had lot of error and then I structured that in this assignment.
- Know your style: Some writers write on the morning, some on night, some prefer to write while listening music, some bath before writing etc. The writers have their unique style which allows them to be more effective while writing. Knowing yourself and your own style will allow you to be prepared. What makes you comfortable while writing is simply known as style. The better you know yourself, the better clarity will one come up with style and preference and eventually will learn to adapt. This is the part I am struggling to figure out. I don’t know my style but I haven’t gave up yet.
- Be Persistent: I agree with John Di Lemme who says, “The key of persistence will open up any door that has been closed by resistance”. This applies while overcoming the writer’s block. To be persistent one can try writing daily journal or blog which will make us more persistent. The key message is to no give if you are stuck while writing. The more we practice, the more spontaneous and effective we would become during the crisis time. Listening to other people’s experience, watching videos or movies, attending workshops will add value to our perseverance journey.
- Seek help: This particularly has helped me when I started my journey as a Nepali writer. I wanted to write but couldn’t and then I started to talk with my friend about my desire versus struggle. He provided me insights which were and are helpful. He asked me to write short sentences and make a connection between one sentence to another. This helped me. If you are not able to overcome the writer’s block situation, then it’s always helpful to have a conversation with friends or mentors either on the topic or off the topic. You can vent out your frustration or struggle or concerns which will energize your self concept and then you can start your pending work. I persisted for two months and continued our conversation about our progress which eventually helped me to overcome the creative blockage situation.
The cause and the strategies that have been discussed above are both applicable in personal and professional life. Until and unless, we practice and make some personalized strategies about overcoming writer’s block, we wouldn’t succeed. The key to success is to write, rewrite and repeat the process time and again until you feel satisfied. No matter how many years of experience we have in our life as a writer everyone has to pass through this situation. The experience won’t stop this struggle to happen instead will teach us better ways on how we deal with it. The anxiety of writing is high especially in school and college students as it requires cognitive management skills to manage our knowledge with questions asked. Teacher and literate parents have a huge responsibility to prepare students for overcoming that anxiety. We need to teach that writing is hard and harder is to accept our struggle but we shouldn’t give up. We should be vulnerable, open and admit that we are imperfect human being who continuously makes mistakes. And, making mistakes in our writing is just one part of the life. We need to show a way to our students, and as well employees which would motivate them to overcome their problem in writing by transforming mistakes into learning’s.
Disclaimer: Blog is a part of series of MBA assignment (2016-2018) and insight is based on my online research.