As a writer, writer’s block is something I’m well acquainted with. The bane of any would be writer’s life, the block can often strike suddenly and with no care for what projects you may have going. Take a look at the eight stages of writer’s block that I have to often transition through.
One minute it’s not there and the next it is. I have literally been halfway through a beautiful sentence, one that is flowing from me onto the screen with ease, and I’ll hit the wall. Sometimes you slam into it so hard it can leave you reeling, which often leads to the next step in the long line towards being a happy writer.
After around five or ten minutes of staring at a screen, or worse writing and deleting the same sentence ten times, it’s then that I realise I have definitely hit the wall. It’s not uncommon for the next five to ten minutes after that to be populated heavily by loud swearing of the incredibly childish variety. You think it’ll cleanse you, sort you out and get you right back on track, but it doesn’t.
Staring at my laptop screen quickly becomes the most tedious thing possible, but I promise myself I won’t procrastinate. However, instead of trying to concentrate on writing, I steadily start concentrating on concentrating. I realise not long after that staring at a screen is not helping anything, that I have to let my mind wander without succumbing to procrastination.
Not long after letting my mind wander, I start to procrastinate. And I mean procrastinate hard, the kind of procrastination that seems like minutes but envelops hours. Every single boring part of my life is now suddenly more interesting than writing. In fact, I’ll often get things I’ve been putting off for weeks done when I’m procrastinating from writing. Never underestimate the power of procrastination when it comes to getting things done.
After the hours, maybe even days of procrastination, I sit back down and take stock. I have to resign myself to the fact that I am in writer’s block and that this is all just part of the process. It’s a real pain and it can be soul destroying, but I wouldn’t enjoy it as much if it came easily 24/7.
Sadly, this is when my resolve will then slip, leading to what I like to call the sadness period. The sadness period has you wandering, usually both mentally and physically, contemplating what you’re doing with your life. Especially as a young writer, it can be heart destroying to consider that perhaps this bout of writer’s block is just the universes way of telling you to stop wasting your life.
There is it, the truth. I’m a fraud. I have nothing to offer the writing world. I may as well burn all my work, trash my laptop, buy a suit, go find a job for life somewhere that will offer me a realistic job title with better prospects. You were right mum.
After going through the above transitions over a matter of hours, days or weeks, I’ll then reach the end of my journey. Maybe I’ll be in the shower, or trying to sleep at 3AM, or dreaming some weird vivid nightmare, but eventually it will hit. Either inspiration or desire will come at you like a train and within the hour you’ll be back at your screen, typing like mad. The only problem is deciding whether what comes out of you is any good, but that’s a whole other soul-crushing process entirely.