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Week 24 – Overcoming Writer’s Block

Sometimes I say to myself, “I want to write about the writing process except I don’t know what to say. I’m lost. Here I am trying to inspire others to write and I can’t think of anything to write. What’s wrong with me?”

This is what is known as a case of writer’s block: a thick concrete block that stands a hundred feet high and extends miles to the right and left. You can’t go through it, over it or around it. “What am I to do?” I ask myself. “I’m stone-cold blank.”

So I start at the beginning by sitting down and reaching for a pen or turning on the computer.

But before I start writing, a question arises: “Should I force myself to write about the writing process or should I write whatever comes to mind?”

And I answer myself by saying, “If I have to force myself to write on a certain subject, forget it. What I’ll do is write whatever comes to mind. If something about the writing process turns up, I’ll keep writing about it.”

Uh-oh, but here comes the writer’s nemesis, the editor, who says, “You can’t write what comes to mind, it won’t make sense. There are certain rules to follow in writing. One of them is that you must plan ahead by making an outline. And then you must think of a topic sentence to get started on the right track.”

I say baloney to anything that prevents a writer from writing. I can write anything I want—and so can you. We have to tear ourselves away from that editor hovering over us. We have to wipe that constricting figure from our minds, take a deep breath and write the first thing that comes to mind—and to keep on writing.

It’s hard for a writer to bust through, climb over or go around that concrete slab known as writer’s block. To conquer that block, we have to symbolically dig under it by clawing and scratching our way into our subconscious, forgetting about outlines and topic sentences, forgetting about spelling, punctuation, grammar and all the other rules of writing and just letting ‘er rip.