Have you ever had one of those days when you are just bursting to write, but just don’t know what to start with?
I have plenty of those days. It feels that my heart and my head will burst, there are swirling thoughts all over them. Everything is all over the place and yet when I put pen to paper, or open a blank sheet on my laptop, I don’t know what happens. I can’t write anything.
That’s one kind of a block. A creativity block.
My pet method- call up my friend. She understands my craft (sometimes better than me). I tell her I can’t write. She gives me a word or a topic. Just anything. And I go from there. The last time, the word that she gave me was obsession and here’s what I wrote on it.
Then there’s that time, where I know what I am writing. I finish writing what’s in my head and then I just can’t seem to finish it. It’s as if, I have thought to the penultimate stage, but then what? How will this end?
That is a procedural block.
I have a list of writing prompts handy and I follow a few writer’s groups on Instagram for prompts. Sometimes you just need the first sentence and then you start flowing again.
The psychological block is tougher to work with.
You think who’s going to read this anyway. For who are you writing your heart out? What’s the point of all this?
My take, after 10+ years of writing is – just keep writing. The readers will find you. Leave that to them. Also after a decade of it, I realise that it is easier said than done. So now I maintain a diary of when I feel this way.
For me, this barrier sets in when I am at the end of a project. When all my enthusiasm has been exhausted and now all that I am doing is trying not to mess up the end. The bad thoughts come in then. And so I write how I think it should end and then I sleep over it. And the next morning, I come back and add the finishing touches.
Writers need to be acutely aware of their blocks and their triggers. Sometimes a scene from a Netflix series inspires something to unfurl within. At times we are so inundated with everything, that writing is scary.
As a writer maintain a writing diary, one that captures your mood. Don’t dwell too much. Just write how you’ve been feeling everyday that you’ve been writing.
Soon enough, and if you stick to this practice, you will see a pattern and your triggers. To be a more productive creator, you have to be very aware of your blindspots. The diary helps.
Each of these blocks can be thought through in detail. At times they happen in the beginning or the middle or the end of a piece or a project. There are moments of self doubt and of boredom with your own creation. At times it is also about finding the right words to articulate better. Also you might be reading your own work, and then think that there’s no way in hell that people would pay to read this.
You know what. You are human. That’s okay. Having all those thoughts and saying them as is, is precisely why you are a writer. You are far more cognitive of what’s happening around you and far more affected perhaps. Take it in your stride and focus on the can do’s.
If there’s another block that you are working through or need someone to talk to, I am right here. Drop a comment and I will circle back to you.