Design Your Process | The Secret of Writers' Block | Blog Post With a K

The Shocking Truth About Writer’s Block is Simple| Kris With a K | Writing Coach

By Kris Windley

It’s that horrible feeling when you sit down to write.

& instead of feeling a creative flow, you sit paralyzed, staring at your computer screen & seething at the injustice of your creative life.

Everybody who’s tried communicating with words has felt it: a paralyzing barrier between the idea you want to share & the ability to actually Get. It. Out!

I’ve felt it too. Sometimes I got over it & hammered out the piece I was working on – resistance be damned –  & sometimes I was beaten by it.

I’ve sat staring at a blank page in a notebook, an empty blog post screen or a blinking cursor on the white blank page of my University thesis (traumatized) & nothing has come out of me – no matter how hard I stared.

I’ve given up.

I’ve run away from my keyboard in a cold sweat – feeling frustrated & unsatisfied, & I’ve procrastinated on Facebook & Netflix too. I’ve felt like whatever it is that makes my writing good is just not here for me when I need it, so why bother trying?

I’ve had…(duh duh duhhhhh)…Writers’ Block!

But I want to tell you a secret: that’s NOT Writer’s Block.

Because there is no such thing as Writer’s Block.

The feeling is real – don’t get me wrong – but there is no outside force keeping you from writing your pithy prose or witty words. There is no benevolent muse or inspiration magic that will set you alight with an idea either.

It’s all you, kitten!

You are either writing that jazz, or you are not. No ethereal force can be credited or blamed for the results.

That’s where the real problems with calling it Writer’s Block come out to play.

You’re making it about something outside of your self: a mythical, fictional, vague presence that you can blame or praise for your failures or your successes & that is a major problem for 3 specific reasons:

1~ You give up control over what happens next.

There’s no way around it. Writing is hard, but if you give up control over the outcome in this way, you can give up on sharing your message FAR too easily. You get to blame that scary, malevolent beast of Writer’s Block and then run away the victim, without any blame. Right?

WRONG!

Here’s the thing: you can’t give up the control & responsibility of driving a car when there’s nobody else ready to grab the wheel. If you stop steering, it’s your fault when the car crashes.

Writer’s Block isn’t sitting there trying to grab the wheel from you, & Inspiration isn’t waiting for the chance to push down on the accelerator.

If you let go of that control, it’s on you.

Click to Tweet: Writer’s Block isn’t taking the wheel from you. Inspiration isn’t either. It’s on you to do the work & write!

2~ You give up credit when you shouldn’t.

The other side of this whole thing – & it’s a reeeeeally important one to me – is that we stop taking credit for the work that goes into writing really really powerful stories. By taking it from ourselves when it doesn’t work, we also take it from ourselves when it does.

I used to sit down at the keyboard (or with a notebook & pen) & just wait for it to come pouring out. The problem is that it sometimes did, so I believed that it would work that way again & again…until it didn’t.

That’s when I took myself out of the equation & started using the Writer’s Block & Inspiration excuses.

When I wrote those beautiful poems, or those clever & interesting essays, it was because I was Inspired. When I sat & stared & couldn’t muster up so much as a coherent sentence? All the fault of Writer’s Block!

Except…I wrote those poems! That was me who crafted those essays & stories. Why am I giving credit to a thing that’s not even real, for the work & skill & talent I have been building for all these years?

Because if I give the credit for all my hard work to Inspiration, I get to blame Writer’s Block for the times I don’t want to put the work in!

Listen! You are the writer & the creator of your message; your creativity is not at the whim of some mythical outside force. You aren’t a passive conduit for a vague cloud of word-magic.

Click to Tweet: Stop blaming Writer’s Block for how difficult it is. Start working on making it easier.

3~ You make it impossible to fix.

This is the biggest biggie of all of my 3 big reasons to can thoughts of Writers’ Block.

If you aren’t honest with yourself about why your writing project is hiding under seven tabs of social media and buzz feed articles, you will never – EVER – be able to fix it & get that piece written.

Seriously! You’re blaming your problem on a fictional thing. Can I blame Work-Out-Block for the extra 10 pounds I should lose? Can I blame the Waking-Up-On-Time-Block for my eleventh Snooze this morning? Nope!

I have to look at why I’m actually not working out (I dislike going to the gym) and then solving that actual problem (go for a walk or run around the lake nearby); I have to look at why I’m actually hitting that snooze button (I stayed up waaaaay too late) & fix that problem (errr…get off the internetz at bedtime).

Otherwise? I’m not really trying to fix the problem; I’m trying to excuse it.

Click to Tweet: If you’re waiting for your Muse or blaming Writer’s Block for not writing, you’re accepting defeat. And that’s not ok!

You have all of the tools you need to break through that wall & Design a Writing Process of your own that you can trust – every time you need to create something great.

If Writers’ Block is something that’s been haunting you, there are a few things you can do right now to get rid of it.

  1. If you haven’t already, you should sign up for the free #30DaysWithaK Free-Writing Challenge. It is the single most effective way to unleash your own Voice over time, & I can’t believe I’m giving it all away for free. So get in there & do it!
  2. You should come back next week to hear how a clear & purposeful Writing Process can save you sanity…& time! Toss your email address & fave nickname in the green box at the top of the sidebar so you don’t miss it.

Thanks for coming by today, kitten! I love hearing from you, so I want to know: what does “Writer’s Block” look like to you?

When does it creep up on you the most, and how do you shake it off?

If you’ve been a reader for a while, we’ve talked about this before (I may even have attached a former comment of yours on the topic), but I want to know: has it changed for you? Why?

 

xo

Kris

KrisWithaK

Kris is a writer, editor, illustrator, teacher, mother of two amazing young ladies - and enthusiastic cat-belly snuggler. A certified teacher, long-time blogger and experienced brand consultant, she writes about Writing, Business and Blogging...and sometimes about Changing the World.

Comments

  1. I have found that when I just start writing — even if I spend 45 minutes writing crap and then start over from scratch (sometimes even 2 more attempts) — I usually come out with something good.

    Typically that first piece of crap contains something of value that ends up in the final piece, just maybe not how I had envisioned it originally.

    Good post, and I plan to dig into more of your thoughts on this topic. Signing up for your 30-day challenge now. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Suzy!

      Letting it all out like that will often help you mine some of the gems out. It’s really important to let your writing happen in stages to be able to find those gems & polish them up.

      Let me know how the Challenge goes!

      xo
      K

  2. The outlining process you teach has helped me with this SO MUCH!!! It gives a framework, and with that I find I can get busy. Of course, I’m only into my first real month of following the new process, so we’ll see where I am in another year.

    Are you sure Workout Block isn’t a real thing?

    Pattymac

    • Hahah Oh Patty. I think the workout block thing might actually be going on here too 😉

      I’m glad you’re giving outlining a try. It takes some time, working with your own Writing Process to find the way it needs to work for you. Keep it up!

      xo
      K

  3. Great post! I have heard about this before, that the writers block is myth we use as an excuse, and I agree. But still, as you write, it is HARD. Hard work, and hard to get going. My writers block excuse right now is that I haven’t been writing for so many days and weeks, that it feels like I’ve forgotten how to do it. How to sit still and get anything out.

    I write awesome texts in my head, haha, but when I have the opportunity to write on the computer, it’s so much easier to check blogs instead of writing. Like I’m doing right now… 🙂

    • It really IS hard, isn’t it, Hanna?

      This is another thing we tell ourselves that is damaging though – that it’s easy for other people, but I just CAN’T. It’s equally hard for *everyone* & only gets easier as you do it.

      If you’re feeling like you need to practise some more, you should TOTALLY join the #30DaysWithaK Challenge (bit.ly/30DaysWithaK) to get prompts & tips every day to help you loosen up & find your Voice every day for 30.

      xo
      K

  4. Yep, “Writer’s Block” rears its ugly head when I have not prepared, am writing about something I really don’t feel passionate about, OR when I have procrastinated (cuz I love to wait till the 11th hour!) and feel rushed. It’s a cycle! I’m trying to be better prepared this year by using an editorial calendar, BUT not holding myself strictly to it. For ex., if I have to talk about Earth Day on my editorial calendar, but get to if and find I have no words, then I can switch the topic. The deal is something HAS to be posted monthly. It gives me deadlines, but with wiggle room allowed. 🙂

    • Wiggle deadlines are the BEST! I love it, Trish.

      The editorial calendar is KEY to keeping you writing something with a purpose for your readers – and keeping the decision making on one side of the writing process and the creative work on the other.

      xo
      K

  5. Ah yes, writer’s block. When I was taking writing classes at school (and felt I had a lot to prove) it reared it’s ugly head weekly, right in time with each week’s assignment…and was only “cured” at the eleventh hour when that assignment HAD to be handed in. Amazing all the things we can find to do when we should be writing….. Over the years I have noticed a pattern – the more important the piece of writing, the more likely I will want to avoid it. So I have learned that I just need to show up, set small deadlines, and if things are really dire, offer myself rewards. (It seems I do respond to bribery….). Great post!

    • SO SO SO true, Andrea! I’m a major deadline-ostrich too sometimes, but it’s all me. As soon as I put the responsibility and potential back on myself, I can come back from the edge…

      And yes, it’s often riiiight at the wire that the realization will come 😉

      xo
      K

  6. It slaps the shi-doodles out of me every freakin’ November. That’s right baby, NaNoWriMo. I spend all of October psyching myself up (or out!?), and telling myself that THIS is the year I’ll do it. Then the last week of October, I start devolving…I’ve never managed to do it before…maybe I should go to the rebel camp & short story it…should I even bother doing it at all? And then yup…another November comes & goes, and still no novel, or novella, or even a short story to show for it. Not even a gosh darn limerick.

      • Oh man! Don’t get me started on Nano! It’s all kinds of a hurtful process for SO many writers. I know the deadline and camaraderie gives accountability to a lot of writers, but there are as many and more who get throttled by it.

        I’ve been thinking for a while about how to make a Nano for grownups that encourages the pieces of good storytelling and writing practices that you can withstand for longer than a month.

        Maybe we’ll have to do something this year that’s more doable for us 😉

        xo
        K

    • NO no no no no! Nano is – at its most basic – a cool idea…but it’s set up to hamstring thoughtful writers. Don’t worry about it if the speed race isn’t your thing. The most prolific and well-versed of writers would balk at the concept of mashing out a word tally in 30 days. Not because they aren’t hardcore – but because everyone has to have their own process that works for THEM.

      Nano is not that process for 99.999999% of the people I’ve come in contact with. We’ll get you writing on your own terms, Amanda, and it will be a beautiful thing 🙂

      xo
      K

    • Thanks Jill!

      We’re going to expand this idea next week, and hopefully come up with some but-then-whats to get us out of whatever that slump really is, if it isn’t Writer’s Block after all 😉

      xo
      K

  7. Great post! I think taking accountability in writing or any aspect of your life or business is so important. It’s easy to hide behind the excuses and check out. I admit that I struggle with writing – but it’s my fault. I let fear take over and my confidence starts to wobble. I am confident in so many parts of my life, but writing on a blog is daunting. To help find inspiration I’ve been looking at articles in the newspaper, writing down thoughts that occur to me about general life stuff (my cat, my teenager, volunteering) and just basically giving myself over to the idea that my blog posts can be musings – just random things. So I’ve planned at least one post a week for the next two months to be my Monday musings. Everything else is more biz related. But that post is me chatting about things…and somehow that’s taken some of the fear out of the writing or the idea of writing for the coming weeks.

    • It’s not about fault Nalana – so don’t beat yourself up. It’s about responsibility and freedom. You have the freedom to create whatever message you want, and you have the responsibility to show up even when it feels uncomfortable to do so…or accept responsibility for not moving forward.

      I love the idea of a more free-writing style practice to loosen up your Voice. It’s one of the things I encourage all of my students to do in one way or another. I love that it’s helping you too!

      xo
      K

  8. NAILED it. I totally suffer from fake writer’s block. And I know it’s because I have waited til the last minute, not properly planned, skipped the outline, plowed ahead and just tried “riffing”, or usually all of the above. The worst. Well, one of my resolutions for 2015 was to create a more systematic approach to my work. It’s going pretty well in most aspects but I haven’t yet gotten proactive with my writing. Hitting that hard in this 2nd Quarter!!

    xo.
    rs

    • YESSSSSIR! I still do this stuff. I’m a big “Do as I say – not as I do” kind of teacher sometimes 😉 When I let go of the process and start riffing, it gets untrustworthy again, and I get really uncomfortable – REALLY fast.

      We’ll get you set up with your own writing system, sista! You just wait.

      xo
      K

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