Writer’s block! That phrase might induce panic and a recollection of a familiar experience. It’s a very common phenomenon. So what is it?
When in the beginning stages of undertaking a new writing project, a writer might find themselves blocked – stuck in front of a blank page or screen with no thoughts coming to mind. This lack of creative flow is further exacerbated by anxiety over the lack of production – making it a self-perpetuating cycle that can lead to stagnation.
In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke explain the ins and outs of how and why we sometimes get stuck – and what we can do to help ourselves in those difficult situations.
The key to avoiding writer's block is to understand and remember one simple fact in particular: writing is a process.
Often, people who face writer’s block hold a false belief that the examples of good writing – the masterpieces of literary accomplishment – somehow emerged from the author fully formed. Since a novice writer’s early attempts to produce a draft might not meet their expectations of perfection, they might consider themselves a failure – all before they’ve even fully attempted the work.
Essentially, writer’s block is editing before the work is done. You have to start somewhere. To avoid writer’s block, just write. Get something down and from there you can start to revise it, which is how the work begins.