How to Cure Writer’s Block

by | Jan 6, 2019 | Essays

I don’t believe in writer’s block.  Writing is the most natural thing in the world.  If you can think, you can write.

People block themselves by thinking about writing instead of just writing or putting too much pressure on themselves.  Here are two tricks for you to use if you ever think you have writer’s block.

Trick #1 To Cure Writer’s Block

The first trick is to take out a journal and write a stream of consciousness.  Write whatever thoughts pop into your head, even unspeakable thoughts.  Even ideas that don’t make complete sense.  Even if your mind jumps around from one topic to the next.  Write everything, and keep writing.  Make no judgments about how good or bad the writing is.  This is not meant to be shown to anybody; it’s just a ”warm-up” to get your mind working.

Write 20-30 minutes straight.  You should have about three pages in a normal-sized journal by the time you’re done (depending on how big or small you write).  Remember that this is not meant to be shared with anybody, so you have complete freedom to write whatever you want, including your deepest, darkest thoughts that you don’t share with anyone.  Write whatever comes to mind.

What will happen is as you write, you will start to build momentum.  The synapses in your brain will start firing, and you will begin to have ideas.  Your mind will latch onto specific threads, and you will suddenly have things to discuss.  As you keep writing, you will eventually get into the flow.  This is where you want to be: in the flow state.

The key is that you have to put pen to paper first.  Don’t try to come up with ideas, and then start writing.  It doesn’t work that way.  Writing is a process of discovery.  You have to write to find out what your ideas are.  You start writing first, then the ideas come.  The key is to start writing – literally anything – and keep writing until you get into the flow.  This is the first trick to conquering writer’s block.

Trick #2 To Cure Writer’s Block

The second trick to curing writer’s block is a trick I learned from Ernest Hemingway.  It’s beautiful in its simplicity.  ”Start with one true sentence.”  That’s the trick.  Start each writing sentence with one true sentence.  It could be something simple, like “My sweatshirt is black.”  Or it could be something profound, like “The more honest and aware you become, the more kind you become” (this was my first sentence from my journal today.  They aren’t always that good, I got lucky today).

Great writing is just telling the truth, so start with one true sentence.  Telling the truth doesn’t mean you have to be right all the time or even aspire to be right all the time.  It just means saying something objectively true.

More Notes on Curing Writer’s Block

People block themselves by writing for the wrong reasons – for money, fame, or some other nonsense.  If you write for those reasons, you will get blocked because writing is hard, and those are not good reasons for doing it.  That’s not being blocked; that’s doing it for the wrong reasons.

Writing involves facing fear.  We all face fears when we write.  “What if I don’t have anything to say?  What if I write ten pages, and they’re all garbage?  What if nobody ever reads any of this?”  These are common fears.  The key to defeating them is focusing on the process, not the results.  Write each sentence one at a time, and enjoy them.  Don’t worry about whether you’ll ever be rich or famous.  That’s not the point.  Love the process and focus on making something that you’re proud of.  That’s it.

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