Do you ever suffer from writers block? It is a subject of some debate. Some people doubt its existence, but regardless of conflicting opinion, if you find yourself staring at blank page or screen, with a nasty feeling gnawing at your stomach then you can call it whatever you want but writer’s block is as good as any other label.
I know about these feelings because I’ve been there too. For me it is mostly to do with a lack of confidence. This usually happens after I have received rejection for work I cared about, or particularly mocking or snarky criticism.
KICK IN THE SELF-ESTEEM
A lot of us writers do lose confidence in our ability to write after a poor review, or a disappointing reception to our work.
Even those of us who are absolutely passionate about writing can find that there’s nothing like a nasty review to cause the passion to dwindle away.
It takes time and experience before you can stop letting these things affect you. Knowing that these feelings are entirely normal and understandable helps. And, don’t worry because you can beat writers block with mindfulness.
THE MENTAL EDITOR
We each have our own little mental editor. This is an inner thought process that watches what we write as we write. Sometimes our little mental editors can grow into a menacing nag that can chip away at your ideas, trashing them peck-by-peck, until your confidence decides to take a long holiday.
I have had to work hard to beat writer’s block myself and I have a few strategies that worked well for me.
First, be aware that your mental editor is just throwing random thoughts at you and that those thoughts are not facts.
Some writers find themselves swamped by dark thoughts that can grow strong enough to beat the urge to write into submission. Not surprisingly the answer isn’t more thinking – positive or otherwise.
OVER THINKING AND WRITERS
Over-thinking can be lethal to writers – I should know, I over-think all the time and so have had to learn ways to stop.
I know from experience that you will find it much more useful to do something that takes the pressure off your mind and refreshes your thought process.
The best way to do this is to go for a walk, but not an ordinary walk – don’t bring your problems with you – or if you do try mindful walking to leave them behind,
A MINDFUL WALK
Mindful and observational walking is the best way to leave your problems and muddled thinking behind. As you walk don’t consciously try not to think about your problems. Just be aware. Concentrate on listening to the sounds around you.
Counting is great for stopping you thinking about problems. Count cars, birds, people, insects etc. If you find your thoughts drifting back, just acknowledge them as thoughts and return to listening carefully to the sounds around you.
GET WRITING NOW
When you return home make a cup of whatever you fancy, sit down and start writing straight away.
You can write the first idea that comes into your head or if you want some other story triggers or prompts you can find some creative writing exercises here.
This is a tiny taster of the mindfulness idea and there are many ways you can use the concept in your everyday life. If you are interested in learning more I suggest you read a wonderful book called ‘Awareness,’ by Anthony de Mello.
This book is straightforward, completely honest and there are no smug lectures I can promise you that – hate smug lectures.
I can’t recommend the book highly enough. It gave me a fresh perspective on how I deal with life and it’s problems and that is rare.
Awareness is one of those books I like to read again and again to remind myself that while ‘shit does happen,’ we get past it.
The book is particularly strong for helping us to break free from worrying about what other people think and this is what can really help you beat writers block.
Best wishes and let me know how you got on.
P.S. I am an affiliate for some of the books I recommend on this site and Awareness is one of them. However, I only ever advise you to read books I feel will genuinely help you. The small commission I receive helps pay the expenses involved in providing the free information you find on this site.