I keep writing and stopping and getting distracted and starting to write something else and stopping…
The stuff I’m writing is less clear and concise than usual. It’s not flowing effortlessly like it often does.
Even after I wrote that ^ I stopped and thought about it… “Should I delete that? Where is this even going?
I think this is what they call writer’s block.
That’s okay. I knew it would come. I’m curious about it and open to it. I like this opportunity. I know it’s not about writing— it’s about being concerned with what others might think of what I write. I like knowing that the way out of this is to write my way through it. To write something bad maybe but to write it regardless.
Ah yes. To write something bad maybe but to write it regardless. Duh. Jesus. How obvious. Why is that so hard though? Why must we keep relearning the lesson to give fewer fucks about what people think?
“It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people. It’s the fear of not writing well; something quite different.” — Scott Berkun
I can already feel the veil lifting.
Is that it then? Is writer’s block just the fear of what others might think of what I write? This reminds me of a point I once heard Bentinho Massaro make about dancing:
A few years ago he was at a dance party. He discovered that when he placed his awareness on the people around him—when he referenced their points of view instead of his own—he would feel more contracted, more paranoid, and he began to dance more clumsily. When he shifted his awareness back to himself— when he referenced his own point of view, he felt more expansive and free. And of course then his dancing improved.
And we all know it’s not limited to writing and dancing. Think about speaking to people or starting a business or doing art or posting something on Instagram or decorating a space or literally anything creative. It’s depleting and unsatisfying when you’re caught up in what others will think. Creative flow states don’t coexist with fear, judgment and comparison.
So how do you cure writer’s block?
1. Reference yourself.
Write for you. Be your own audience. What’s the truest realest most relevant thing for you right now? Practice caring less about what other people think. Be your damn self.
“All writing problems are psychological problems. Blocks usually stem from the fear of being judged. If you imagine the world listening, you’ll never write a line. That’s why privacy is so important. You should write first drafts as if they will never be shown to anyone.”
― Erica Jong
2. Do it anyways.
Write, draw, build, dance, speak, design, make… even if you’re not confident or ready or self-referencing yet. Write your way through writer’s block. Give yourself a container. Build the habit. Write poorly. Just write.
“Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that bitch.”
― Lili St. Crow
“Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:
“Fool!” said my muse to me, “look in thy heart, and write.”
― Philip Sidney