I'm a writer, so why can't I write anything?
If you’ve ever had to put pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard and make words come out, then you know the feeling. Writer’s block. The enemy of anyone who has ever had to write anything. Period.
My writer’s block comes in a very special form: I just never write anything, ever.
Usually, I can write a poem every so often when I’m dealing with strong emotions like anger or sadness. I just scribble my thoughts on the page of my notebook and call it a day. Sometimes I look back on what I wrote and notice that my passion-induced madness actually has some creative genius to it. Other times I look at it and cringe. It depends.
But when it comes to writing my actual stories, I can’t seem to ever bring myself to sit down in front of my computer and just hash it out. Instead, I spend days staring at nothing and daydreaming about my characters, developing them, and thinking of ways to make their lives miserable for the sake of the plot. Yet, the words remain stuck in my brain where no one can see them.
I think there could be a couple of reasons for writer’s block. I think mine stems from fear. I am afraid to take the next step. Once I put my words on a page, they are out there for the rest of the world to judge. I love my characters and stories deeply, and I am afraid no one else will share this love with me. I worry that I can’t execute the stories perfectly, that I will never do justice to the pictures in my head. What if everything I write is terrible and I have to start all over?
There always seems to be many hoops and hurdles to juggle before you can actually begin writing a story. Character design, worldbuilding, research, plotting, the list goes on and on. It’s overwhelming to think about.
So I guess I just never try. But I can’t live this way forever and continue to call myself a writer. There is no right way to write because everyone’s writing process is different. Comparing your style to other writers' may help provide some guidance to the process, but it is ultimately up to you to make the decisions in your writing journey.
For me, I’m just going to go for it, dive in headfirst. Once the words are on the page I can go back, edit, and make it coherent. The important thing is that my words are brought into existence.
My philosophy is this: You can edit something awful, but you can’t edit a blank page.
Maybe this will help you overcome your own writer’s block. Or maybe, you like putting in the time to map everything out first. Either way, there is no one way to write. But no matter what, don’t let writer’s block stop you from being passionate about your work. Being frustrated is part of the process. If the words don’t come naturally, it doesn’t make you a failure.
As I’ve learned, writing doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. What matters is that your words are there and not just in your brain. Remember, writer’s block is a universal experience, but it is only a temporary state in the process.