Writer’s Block Breaks When Viewed as Gift
Writer’s block. It seems to hit at the very worst time. During a deadline with a new client. During an mid-afternoon work session that needs to be completed by the close of the business day. During a project that can make or break career advancement. Writer’s block can feel and look like paralysis. Nothing gets written, but a lot of paper gets balled up as quickly as the stomach knots set in to contort the sufferer. Seen as a malaise, writer’s block will deliver a double-punch to both the ego and the brain. But seen as a gift? Is that even possible? Yes, observed as a gift, writer’s block can accelerate the business of writing. Try the following strategies to get the flow back to any project. ASAP!
First, consider sculpting. An artist chisels away a bit at a time to come up with breathtaking busts of figures that are withing the rock. A few years ago when I was experiencing writer’s block, a friend of mine, Linda Leedy Schneider, a poet and psychotherapist, recommended brevity. “Try writing in 15 minute sessions,” she suggested. Worked like a charm! Why? After the first session is over, a second or a third can be added. And as the words that were so painfully slow to come melt through the warming of confidence, so does the writer’s block. Sheer and brief movement is the gift that gets passed the block.
Second, write with the audience in mind. When an assignment gets personal and that person or group can be visualized, words seem to begin to flow. Want to stay stuck? Consider writing as a struggle – uncomfortable and painful – and that is exactly what will stick to each and every syllable that is keyed on a page. Consider the audience’s needs, wants, desires and get those items answered in as few words as possible. As another friend, author, Mel Ryane, has told me and others in her “From the Page to the Podium” workshops, “It is never, ever, about you!” The delivery of a speech has the same requirement as a piece of writing: remember that the audience is the focus. And there is no room there for a whiny writer. The gift here is a fresh perspective, which goes beyond the self as a writer.
Finally, write with authority to crush writer’s block. Write as quickly as possible to get the main idea out. Forget about spelling, punctuation, grammar rules and the like. That is what the editing and proofreading stages are intended to catch. Exude confidence, even if it feels odd. The projection of success will be found in the gift of words that multiply and spill onto the screen.
Now, time to start picking up those nasty paper balls all over the desk and toss them away!