so you have a writer’s block, huh?

zamantungwa | July 26th, 2013 | Writer's Block, writing craft | No Comments

So, sometimes it’s hard to writer. Some say it exists, others say it doesn’t. It’s called a writer’s block. It takes over you at the most inconvenient of times. Has you not knowing how to write. How to distil that bubbling feeling inside you into beautyful words…

Beautyful words, I say.

Not just any old janky arrangement of the alphabet. So when you pick up your pen, open your computer or tablet, you want the words to flow effortlessly. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. When they don’t, you  start to wonder if you really are meant to be doing this writing thing. You said you were a writer, didn’t you? And everybody keeps asking if you’re finished writing that novel and “when will your poetry collection come out?”

And you have a writer’s block!

Found this photo while “pinting”.

pinned from Swoon Reads on Pinterest
pinned from Swoon Reads on Pinterest

It reminded me of an interview with Kwame Dawes for Was rather afraid to ask him about having a writer’s block. Worst thing about being interviewer number twenty ‘leven is finding new questions to ask a person… Anyway, this is what he had to say about it..;

The first thing I would say to you is banish the concept of writer’s block. It’s not true. It’s something we made up. It’s a great idea. What does writer’s block say to you? Here’s what happens, you come to write and you can’t think of anything to write, so you say “I have writer’s block”. Which means, you didn’t do anything; you’re blaming the writer’s block for your problem, right? It’s the block; it’s that nasty block that keeps running around blocking everybody. But it has nothing to do with you.

I found myself thinking “yeah, that makes sense”. That’s how you feel, isn’t it? Like you’re empty? Or tongue tied?

The truth is writer’s block is essentially that maybe you don’t have anything to say. What you have to do is to say to yourself as a writer, even if I don’t have anything to say, I must make myself ready for when I have something to say. So for me [that means] craft, practising. I write haikus, I write essays. Some of it makes no sense. It’s not really good stuff but I’m learning. So [that] when the idea comes, I’m ready for it.

Kwame Dawes is right. Yes, sometimes are you are just being lazy but mostly you have nothing of significance to say or to pull from. It’s not that easy to fake it when it comes to writing. He also says,

You have to examine yourself and ask ‘what is driving my writing?’ You need to expand the things that make you want to write. I don’t give myself many excuses. If we have a workshop and say we’re going to write a poem now, a third of the people will say they don’t write on demand ‘I have to feel it’ then I say then you’re not a serious writer. You can write on demand because everything you write is not necessarily going to be brilliant. Some of it will be bad but you need to do it to keep the practice going.

Henry David Thoreau also said,

How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.

So the thing is, you have to live. experience life. But also be observant and open to receiving inspiration by seeing other people’s experiences. That way you fill up your mind with experiences to draw from when you have you to write. And you have to practice you craft so that your pen is sharp when are ready to write.

When you’re having that writer’s block, don’t beat yourself up (unless it’s 3am and you have an 8am deadline, well you go’ have to do something bra!). Go out there,  live life a little, watch, observe and practice your craft getting ready for when the ideas come. Do things that refill your inspiration tank.

Then come back sit down and bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed!

my holiday shorts

This post has been republished here, with permission. It originally appeared on My Holiday Shorts. Click here for more on My Holiday Shorts!

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