6 June 2014

NYWM: Day 6

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It’s time to address a writer’s worst nightmare: writer’s block.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all suffered from it before, and unfortunately this condition strikes us at the worst of times, usually when the ideas are flowing and our writing is in tip top shape. Stumbling upon it is like hitting a brick wall: it hurts and there seems to be no one around it, no matter how creative you get.

Our good friend Wikipedia can sum up the definition of writer’s block in one neat little sentence: “Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.”

So how do we overcome this particular nemesis, you ask? The answer is simple as it is perplexing: just stop writing.

Now we don’t mean stop writing indefinitely *gasp* – after all, writer’s block is only a temporary condition that usually doesn’t last very long. With that said though, it’s important to not let it get to you emotionally and mentally whenever you encounter it or else it will stop you from continuing further. Instead, take it as a sign of your brain needing some rest.

Luckily for us, there are plenty of ways to alleviate the big brain block. As writers ourselves, we’ve found that simply stepping away from the computer and not thinking about our writing diminishes writer’s block almost instantly. Going for a walk can also do wonders.

Really though, it’s all about giving your creative juices a rest so do whatever you think will keep you at ease. It could be reading a book, doing meditation and yoga, or walking your dog. Take your pick.

Hilary Mantel, journalist at The Guardian, summarises this perspective perfectly:

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.” – Hilary Mantel.

Writer’s block comes in many forms, so if you’re curious to know which one you’ve got, check out this post by iO9 called “The 10 Types of Writers’ Block (and How to Overcome Them)”

Writer’s Digest have also published their own article on how to alleviate writer’s block. Have a look here.

Opportunities and events

We’re always on the lookout for writers to be featured as part of NYWM. If you’re happy to answer a few questions about you and your writing, please fill out this form.

Writer’s Web, Australia’s online resource for emerging writers and authors, have launched ‘Write Around Queensland’, a program dedicated to showcasing the creative talents of Queensland based writers. Each submission will receive extensive feedback from the Queensland Society of Editors – so its a great opportunity to improve your writing skills. For more information, click here.

We want to reiterate that you’re not alone as an emerging writer – in fact there are thousands scattered across Australia. Think about joining a writers group if you’re in need of support or require assistance in brainstorming story ideas. Writers Victoria has a list of writing groups on their site.

“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.”  ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.