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  • SJ Paquette

Holy Sh*t, I have writer's block

When I wrote my first blog series for work, and even when I write small, one page communications for my job, I have to block chunks of time in my calendar. That's because writing takes time and focus. Sometimes this focus requires me to disconnect and shut everything off, which is easier said than done.

I've found that winter is my best writing time, mostly because I'm stuck inside due to snow. Here in New England, summer if finally here. The weather has been incredible and so I've been gardening, kayaking, and just enjoying the outdoors; all things I love to do and can't do in the winter months. All of which can keep me away from my computer for hours and even days of my time. I feel very distracted in the summer.

In my last blog, I wrote about dipping into the scene of a story to write about it. I have found that when I am able to successfully do this, to get into the zone, I get lost in it. Its as if I am there experiencing the story. And when I've been able to do this, writing comes easily and I can get lost in it for hours.

So what happens when you cannot do that? I admit there are mornings where I sit in front of my computer and I've got nothing. I find myself staring out the window thinking about more than just my story. And when I have trouble getting into the story its because I have 100 other things on my mind. The laundry needs to be done, the floors need a good vacuuming, or the day's chores are weighing too heavy on my mind and I know I'm better off doing them and getting them off my plate so I can clear space for my story and my characters.

This is when I know I have writer's block. For some, writer's block can be a feeling that lasts for days if not months. Writer's block is officially defined as the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing. And I can tell you as someone who experiences this on varying scales, this is real and its frustrating.

@PSHoffman has a great article titled How to (Actually) Cure Writer’s Block. In this article he breaks down writer's block into three categories: perfectionist, procrastinating, and boredom. I've experienced all three forms of writer's block he describes, but mostly procrastination. (Yup...I admit it!)

If this happens to you, this is not a sign that you aren't meant to be a writer. That is something I have to remind myself of often. For me I haven't found the right solution yet. I do find that exercising helps, although I don't profess to be a person who hits the gym regularly. So I will sometimes meditate or just go for a walk. I've also found that if I read about writing or I take a quick course about writing, it can often times inspire me to get back to my characters.

Whatever you do to cure your writer's block, just know you are not alone. :)

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