overcoming writer’s block


From personal experience, it seems writer’s block can come about for multiple of reasons. Maybe you just feeling particularly uninspired, or maybe you’re hampered by the stresses of life, far too distracted to focus.

Recently, I have been struggling through my own writer’s block, whether through creative writing or even on this blog. As I explored it, I realized that my writer’s block was coming from my own internal fears. I want my voice to be heard. I want my words to mean something. Writing has always been a crucial means of expression for me, but I would be lying if I said that I didn’t want to inspire or empower someone with the stories I create. My goal this year has been to attempt to publish my novel, and as I venture closer to that goal, my fears, like demons, are swooping in to sway me. What if agents/publishers think my writing is amateur and crap? What if I never get published? What if my writing means nothing?

It wasn’t until I processed my writer’s block with my therapist that I realized the power my fears were having over me. When I was telling her of my fear of being rejected by publishers or criticized by people (and having something I held very close to my heart disparaged), she pointed out to me, “You’re already operating as if your fear will come true, that you will be rejected.”

But who am I to predict the future, when none of us can’t? Isn’t that the whole point of trying?

It also hit me that I was putting too much weight and pressure on myself. I’m not seeing the reality for what it is: that this is only an attempt. It doesn’t mean my writing is or never will be good enough. My therapist told me, “You’re acting as if you don’t publish now, you will never publish. Maybe you’ll publish now, or later.” She also elaborated to me that I was making my attempt to publish as definitive proof that I am a good, or bad, writer, depending on how people will respond. But just because one, or even several people, do not like it, does not mean that I’m a bad writer. For example, one person might cite Metallica as the best band ever, while another may describe it as raucous and horrible.

I’m putting too much stock in other people’s thoughts, and it’s getting to a point that their hypothetical words are stunting me. And so I don’t try, because by not trying, I don’t have to face it. I can stay safe… but at the expense of never reaching my dream. That’s the high cost to pay. So I’m faced with a choice: to stay safe, but live ruled by fear, or to face my fears and likely criticism/rejection, but have the chance to bring my 19-year-old dream to life.

I suppose the moral of this post is twofold. 1 – It’s very helpful to have a good therapist.  2 – Other people do not define your writing. Just as with any other mode of expression, your vision is purely yours and yours alone. It was through my processing that I saw that I was giving too much power to other people, of something that is 100% me. People may have varying opinions on what I have to say, but that doesn’t de-validate my voice, or the experiences and feelings I used to inspire me. All of that is and stays valid.

I think that’s a part of my journey as a writer… learning to let go of people’s thoughts and opinions, and their power over my writing. No one defines my writing, except for me. Of course there is always a time and place for constructive criticism, but it is important to also stay true to your vision and passion. I can’t let anyone compromise my vision. Not even myself.