Posted in All Articles, Writer's problems

10 root causes for writer’s block and lessons you must learn

In this post I look in detail at the following root causes for writer’s block:

  1. You are rushing your writing
  2. You don’t know what to write
  3. You don’t know how to write
  4. Your writing feels mediocre
  5. You are afraid of being judged
  6. You’ve had enough of being a writer
  7. You’ve lost hope you will ever publish
  8. You can’t stop procrastinating
  9. You can’t finish what you started
  10. You are too overwhelmed and can’t focus

I offer realistic and easy solutions, so keep reading:

CAUSE #1 – YOU ARE RUSHING YOUR WRITING

You see writing as a race and think that “first” means “best”. So, you push yourself to write more words per day than you are normally capable of and after short time you’ve permanently run out of oil.

Lessons to learn:

  • We all live our lives at our own pace. There is no need to rush. This is your story, focus on yourself.
  • Success will always come to those who are persitently working towards it. Believe that you will suceed.
  • Readers really don’t care how quickly you wrote that story. What they care about is quality of what you have written. Don’t let the speed ruin your style.
  • Everyone’s best is different. It doesn’t matter how many words other authors write per day. It matters how many words you can write.

CAUSE #2 – YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE

You have planned the beginning and the ending, but you don’t know what will happen in the middle. Or, you have a few scenes but you don’t know the order in which they should occur. Every time you try to write, you just get stuck.

Lessons to learn:

  • Don’t seek the treasure without a complete map. Finish brainstorming your story and write a plan. Only then get back to writing.

CAUSE #3 – YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO WRITE

You have planned a great scene, but you don’t know how to write it. It seems so complicated that it doesn’t inspire you anymore.

Lessons to learn:

  • Reconsider whether this scene is absolutely necessary. If not, throw it away. If yes, check other authors’ work.
  • If you know how to write it, but it’s still lengthy and overwhelming, use the Snowflake Method: first write 10 sentences, then start adding new sentences in between, etc.

CAUSE #4 – YOUR WRITING FEELS MEDIOCRE

Your writing is neither appalling nor amazing. It’s mediocre, even though you have planned what was supposed to be the most gripping plot ever. You yourself are not impressed by what you have created.

Lessons to learn:

  • You probably operate with limited vocabulary that bore you to death. Read more, research synonyms, focus on your voice as author.
  • Stop freewriting! It makes you write huge amounts of poor quality text that you have to deal with later during editing.

CAUSE #5 – YOU ARE AFRAID OF BEING JUDGED

You want to write a steamy erotica but you are afraid of what your conservative christian family would think if they read it.

Lessons to learn:

  • Consider taking a pen name.
  • Reconsider if you really want to express your views on the topic that you have chosen. Maybe you would be more comfortable writing on another topic?
  • Analyze your everyday life. Are you living as your most authentic self? Do you express yourself freely, or do you keep biting your tongue all the time? Do you have trouble talking about things that trully matter to you? If so, why?

    CAUSE #6 – YOU’VE HAD ENOUGH OF BEING A WRITER

     

Lessons to learn:

  • Hard work, rejections and criticism is everyday bread of most writers. It’s ok to have had enough of that. Take a rest. Resting doesn’t mean quitting.
  • The will to write will return soon, so don’t panic.

CAUSE #7 – YOU’VE LOST HOPE YOU WILL EVER PUBLISH

Lessons to learn:

  • The fact that someone rejected you doesn’t mean that you have to reject your dream of writing and yourself, too. Don’t call it quits because you’ve been rejected and you feel too down to write.
  • Instead, know that a willing heart will always find a way. My mother says that if God closes the door somewhere, he opens a big gate somewhere else. Start actively looking for other available ways. Don’t give up until you find a way.
  • Only after you have found the way, return to writing. When you know that you will publish, it will motivate you further and the joy of writing will return.

CAUSE #8 – YOU CAN’T STOP PROCRASTINATING

Lessons to learn:

  • Pay attention to other areas of your life. If you are procrastinating in there too, it means that procrastination is your general problem. Think about the root cause and take it under control.
  • Realize that by postponing work for later you are also postponing success for later. You will feel guilty and unhappy in the long run. Besides, procrastinating is hanging between work and resting, which means that you aren’t resting either. Make a decision to either rest or work.
  • Reconsider whether you really want to write this particular scene/story/book. If not, then give up and switch to writing something else.

CAUSE #9 – YOU CAN’T FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED

You remember why you started but somehow you don’t feel like writing the ending. This pattern continues since you can remember. You might have finished only 3% of what you have started.

Lessons to learn:

  • If you are struggling with not fihnishing multiple stories, realize that not every story must be finished and published. There are lots of stories that have helped us grow and become better writers. Don’t fixate on finishing everything. Choose most important projects that absolutely must be finished.
  • If you are struggling with finishing this one book, realize that you might not be ready to end the journey with this particular story yet. It’s fine. Finishing a story is saying goodbye to your characters (at least for a while) and delving into the unknown of editing, publishing etc. If you need time to feel ready, that’s fine.

CAUSE #10 – YOU ARE TOO OVERWHELMED AND CAN’T FOCUS

You want to write but there are a thousand things going on in your life. Even though your head is full of ideas, when you get to writing, you can’t get even one sentence done. You feel like your thoughts are scattered everywhere and can’t focus.

Lessons to learn:

  • Write down the ideas in form of notes, so that you can work on them later.
  • There are seasons in life for everything. Maybe this season isn’t the best for writing. Maybe you need to focus on something more important that is happening in your life now. That’s fine. Slow down, and if you can’t, then focus on other aspects of your career – seeking reviewers, gathering fans, working on your social media presence etc. Once everything in your private life is fixed, it will be easier to focus your mind on writing.

I hope this helps!

Stay inspired.

 

Author:

Hi! I am an author. I've published my debut novel in 2015 in Poland ("Dokąd teraz popłynę?"). My main genre is fantasy and magical realism. I often discuss socially difficult topics in my works and try to pass on a message of hope. I am always inspired and I never stop writing. My writing inspirations are Bruno Schulz, Pablo Neruda, Kiran Desai and Haruki Murakami. In my private life I am a polyglot. I believe in the Law Of Attraction and I write about it on UltimateManifester at Wordpress.

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