The Perpetual Writer’s Block

Last December to February, I was behind on a writing contract (for the game/app I’m almost done beta-testing…finally). Every day, before and after class, in between homework and sorority, I did nothing but write. With the story rounding out at 185,000 words and completion in 2.5 months, I wrote an average of 2,312.5 words a day. I think one day I wrote about 9,000 words. It was nuts.

For the past month, however, I’ve been trying my hand at regularly producing content for this blog and I’ve discovered what makes my writer’s block shine.

  1. Not having a deadline – as a former college student (and soon-to-be grad student), I’ve realized that I’m very motivated by deadlines and… not by much else
  2. Perfectionism – ¬†each post gives me the anxiety attack of wondering if this post will help or hurt my career overall (the logical side of my brain understands the answer is neither). How can I post something now when I’m not my best writing self yet? Paradoxically, of course, becoming your best writing self takes practice – say, developing content for a blog or something.
  3. Wanting to write something else – honestly, anything else. As soon as I settle down to write something for this blog, I quickly decide I want to write something else. Anything. Fantasy, Sci-Fi, recipes for pizza rolls.

You’d think the fact that this blog is in its infancy would help me not worry about being perfect; logically, if no one is reading what I write what does it matter? Unfortunately it seems I still have a ways to go before I separate my writing self from my emotional self enough to write unburdened by anxiety.

Do any of you suffer from writer’s block in the form of how-to-write and not what-to-write? How do you handle it?

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2 Comments

  1. YES! I’ve been meaning to update my blog and continue the short story in working on, but I find everything else to do besides write. And I don’t know why! Like exercise, once I do it I feel amazing and love it. But I don’t know I can’t just sit down. Perhaps I’m scared???

    1. I know exactly how you feel, Katie. I’ve been experimenting with this since I first wrote this post (I wrote it a few weeks ago and scheduled it to be published later) that two things help me most:
      1. To designate a specific time and amount of time for writing. I’ve been saying ‘noon’ and ‘an hour’. If I want to keep writing thereafter, that’s fine. But for that hour I have to work on writing related tasks.
      2. As far as blog content, I’ve been writing it as the mood strikes me (generally after reading something someone else has written) and then setting it to be published in a few weeks. This helps me deal with the feelings of ‘perfectionism’ that gnaw because when I produce new content I usually hate it. Letting it sit for a few weeks and then editing it before it’s scheduled to be produced has really help me.
      I think it’s like physics – getting the ball rolling is harder than keeping it rolling. We need practice at post-graduate writing and, with time, it can only get easier!

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