How Fear Contributes To Writer’s Block And What To Do About It

writer's block
An old typewriter from an antique store in New Orleans.

I pump out about 2 posts a week. However, recently I’ve been pumping out 3. I’ve had advice where people told me to put out content every day, or at least 5 days out of the week. That’s something I absolutely would not mind doing, but I just don’t think I can be consistent with it.

“Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity.”

At least that what Bruce Lee said and something I just happen to agree with. I’d rather publish 2-3 well-written and valuable posts that take me a few days to research, write, edit, and proofread than 5-7 mediocre posts. I want to have quality content. Not content “just because.”

With that said, I still get writer’s block from time to time. Sometimes, I just don’t know what to write about. And, if I do know what to write about, my thoughts are everywhere and I can’t get them into one cohesive post. Hence, the article doesn’t get started.. because I don’t know how to start it or I can’t figure out where I’d like to begin.

I’m going to go over some ways I push through writer’s block. Before that, though, I’d like to share another quote I’ve read somewhere before.

“You don’t have writer’s block. You have writer’s fears.”

The fear, for me, comes in the form of the fear of actually being read. Weird, huh? A blogger/writer who fears their work being read. I guess it goes alongside with singers not particularly liking their own voice. If I were to take it a step further, the fear of being read stems from the fear of criticism (what if someone doesn’t like what I write and comments something negative?), the fear of failure (what if it’s just not good enough), the fear of losing creativity (what if I have already written my best pieces and I haven’t gotten the results I wanted?), the fear of offending someone (what if I piss someone off. Yikes!).

And, the strangest one of all, the fear of success. What if I actually succeed (and I do think I will– forgive the over confidence here, I just really have a very positive outlook on life) and things start happening? What would I do with all the inquiries, people asking for help, etc.? Am I ready?

Really quickly, let me mention what I tell myself so I do not dwell on the negative things that go though my mind when I’m about to write (or publish) a post.

Fear of criticism. I can’t please everyone and a surefire way to fail is to try and please everybody. Not everyone’s going to agree or like what I have to say and that’s alright. I’m not looking to be popular. I’m looking to find similar souls.

Fear of failure. It’ll just be a temporary defeat. I won’t fail if I don’t quit. Besides, I’ll be learning invaluable lessons. That means I can build bigger, better, and smarter the next time around.

Fear of losing creativity and inspiration. If I’m following my calling and passion, inspiration won’t always come easy but if it’s in me, it’s in me. I gotta give myself more credit and believe that inspiration and creativity flows within abundantly.

Fear of offending someone. As long as I wasn’t disrespectful, varying opinions are okay. (See fear of criticism.)

And, last but not least by any means, fear of success. To whom much is given, much is expected. So I just tell myself that if I perform and do my best at any given time, that’s all I can do. When success comes, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

So, how about those times when you do face the fears and still can’t come up with anything?

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for overcoming writer’s block. Writing is an art, not a formula anyone can apply and voila! Problem solved. You’ve got to figure out what works best for you. Here are some things that have worked for me that might work for you as well:

1. Do anything creative. Step away from the computer or your notepad. Get the creative juices flowing. Try going for a walk, yoga, painting, etc.

2. “Meditate.” It’s in quotations because I don’t mean meditate the right way where you block the thoughts going through your brain. I mean meditate as in you let the thoughts flow and when you get sparks, jot them down.

3. Move. Get your body moving and your blood flowing. This usually helps get my mind going as well.

4. Eliminate distractions. Sometimes when I really need to push through and finish a post, I lock myself in a room and just focus on what I’m writing about. I brainstorm and sometimes freewrite. I also listen to music.

5. Call a buddy/friend/mentor who inspires you. You know at least one person. That guy or gal who when you talk to, you feel like you can conquer the world.

Controversy Alert!

6. Take a shot. Wine it up. Shotgun it. I had a friend in college who used to get tipsy before writing his papers. Smart man. I asked him why and he said he’s just able to think better. I tried it and I see what he means. You lose inhibitions and, for me, I end up with more ideas that I probably would not have thought about it without the wine. Note: Please do review whatever it is you’ve written when you’ve sobered up. Also another note: My friend is now also a doctor. And a good one at that. Don’t knock it ’til you try it. 😉

2 Things NOT To Do When You Have Writer’s Block
  1. Procrastinate on the techniques to help you overcome writer’s block.
  2. Wait until you’re “inspired.”

How About You?

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