How To Get Out Of Your Own Way

At some point, all writers have stared—uneasy and overwhelmed—at a blank screen. Our story lines stop, our characters quiet, and we start to panic. We pour another cup of coffee, throw in another load of laundry, and we pace (a lot). Determined, we perfunctorily peck out a few sentences.

Reading the insignificant contribution to our novel pushes our finger to the upper left—delete, delete, delete. Again, we sit staring at a blank page.

It’s writer’s block, right? It’s common. It’s curable (sometimes).

We know that writer’s block can happen for a variety of reasons: stress, self-inflicted pressure and/or criticism, insecurity, lack of ideas, etc. Most of us also know the many ways to break the block.

So, why are we still staring at a blank page?

Get ready for some tough love: It isn’t always the block to blame sometimes it’s you!

Writers, particularly blocked ones, are skilled at rationalizing why their daily word count never exceeds one hundred. Family commitments, day job pressures, financial strains, unproductive writing environments, time constraints. Each one seems like a reasonable excuse, but that’s just it—they are excuses.

The truth is that you get in your own way.

How?

You get in your own way by allowing all these reasons to stop you.

If you are ready to stop making excuses and start writing, read the following to find out how to get out of your own way.

Drop The Options: Yes, it’s possible that you could have been a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker but you’re not—you are a writer. Embrace it. Stop questioning all the other career paths you could have taken and instead concentrate on the one you chose. If your only option is to write then you will write.

Write For You Not Your Audience: What? Audience isn’t a consideration when writing? No. If you write from pure inspiration and love, your writing will be genuine. And authenticity is what will find your audience for you. Writing for unknown faces only muddles your mind and blocks your creativity. Do you. Be you. Others will find you.

Let Go Of Your Preconceived Notions: You will be on the New York Times Bestseller list. You will have only two readers (one is your mom). You will be famous. You will be judged harshly. You will be rich. You will be poor. All these thoughts are noise that block the sound of your creativity. Let go of the writer you may be and just be the writer you are.

Let Your Heart Write And Your Mind Market: It’s a common trap for writers to view their work through a “marketing” lens. We can’t write a sentence without the constant questioning. Is our genre popular? Will our story appeal to a mass audience? Will our writing attract a large following? These questions deserve thought and consideration but only after the writing is complete. Write with your heart, market with your mind.

Stop The Analysis Paralysis: If there is only room in your frontal cortex for one tip—make it this one. After all, you can spend your time considering all the reasons why you face a blank page, but the mere process of that analysis could be the cause of your writing paralysis. Stop considering all the possible reasons. Stop worry. Instead…just…write.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to your comments.

2 thoughts on “How To Get Out Of Your Own Way

  1. You make excellent points. If I may make more suggestions, writers should work on the discipline of writing, if only producing one page a day, and never worry about how good it is–just get it down. Revise later. Sometimes, the attempt to be perfect can block writers.

    1. I completely agree with you. As writers, we are often so preoccupied with perfection on the first attempt that no attempt is made. I myself need to remember and work on the concept of write first, revise later. Thank you for reading and your input.

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About Sherry Parnell