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I spend a great deal of time reading.

Some for entertainment, but more in research. I’m constantly looking for articles on writing, publishing and marketing, and very often come across things that just catch my interest. Whether it’s something in science and technology, sports, world news, or just a catchy phrase at the bottom of the page, I never know what’s going to spark a new idea. Inspiration and new best practices can come from almost anywhere. Blogs are among my favorites. Many people out there offer good advice – both amateurs and professionals – and I’ve discovered that reading articles on the same topics from different authors provides me with diverse insights.

Of course, advice is subjective and not all ideas I come up with are good.

This leads me to a topic I’ve been seeing posted often recentlyWriter’s Block.

Some of the reason for this is due to the fact that more people are writing now than ever before. In 2019 there were nearly 46 million writers and authors in the US alone. And a great deal of the blame is falling on the stresses caused by this pandemic. The thing is, while stress negatively impacts many aspects of our health and well-being, and can reduce our desire to write, it generally is not a cause of Writer’s Block.

Ray Bradbury said it best: “Writer’s Block is just a warning that you’re doing the wrong thing.” Seriously. It could be the wrong direction for the story. It could be losing interest in a character. It could be a bad or uninteresting idea. Something about your current project is wrong. Your brain knows it, but you don’t want to see it.

That’s when your brain places a giant block in your way and wanders off.

When this happens, you sit down to work on your project, annnnndnothing. You might as well join your brain watching cat videos on YouTube.

Dealing with Writer’s Block

The worst advice I’ve ever heard is to try to write around the block. In my experience – and I have a ton of experience with Writer’s Block – trying to write around it is simply an exercise in frustration.

Remember what I said, all advice is subjective. What works for me may not work for you, but here goes. For me, the best way to get past that block is to write something else. I put the project down that is not working and give myself some distance from it. But that’ not all. That something else has to be written to completion. I know it sounds like I’m giving up on the block, but that’s not it. The distance provides me with perspective and finishing something else bolsters my confidence. When I go back I can almost always see where the project went wrong.

Sometimes it’s all wrong, and I have to make the decision to move on from it. That’s extremely difficult but can be necessary – and will be the topic of a later blog.

The point is, Writer’s Block is not some horrible, insurmountable obstacle to dread or attempt to conquer. It’s your brain telling you that there’s a problem with your project and until you find a way to fix that problem, that block isn’t going anywhere. It doesn’t matter which way you try to write around it.

Don’t fight that block, heed it.

Come back for a new writing topic in two weeks

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