In the summer of 2017, I attended a writing workshop, my first ever writing-oriented program. For two weeks, I spent my time creating amongst a community of writers. While it was an enjoyable experience, it was also challenging and strenuous. At the time, it was probably the most I had written consistently and forced my brain to adapt to that environment while only for a short period was a learning experience. However, it was also the first time I had seriously encountered writer’s block.
Writer’s block– we’ve all experienced it before in some way, shape or form. Whether it be when you’re writing an essay or for your own personal enjoyment, it sucks all the same. As a writer, you would think that I’m no stranger to the experience and have all the solutions to deal with it. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Typically any time I’ve faced this issue, I just stop writing and wait for a revelation to hit me. However, sometimes that’s not an option.
I’ve been dealing with writer’s block since July of 2021. After spending a year writing on a consistent basis, I’ve stretched as a writer in unimaginable ways. However, I feel as though I’ve reached a plateau. The initial fire that drove me to write with unstoppable force, has now reduced to a low simmer. New ideas are far and few between, and the execution has become even harder. My brain scrambles for inspiration from anywhere and anyone. Yet to no avail I feel as though I still come up short.
So what does one do when in a situation like this? What is the appropriate response to rekindling that groove? When inspiration doesn’t seem like it’s coming, and you can’t find the confidence to continue writing, how do you motivate yourself to continue? When everything you produce you just seem to hate? This may not be the answer you wanted to hear, but despite all of these feelings, you continue to write. Write through all the bad ideas and poorly executed pieces. Attempt to write that piece on the topic you wanted to write about the most.
Write because the block you are experiencing is only temporary. Unfortunately, the thing about temporariness is that it is unknown how long it will last. While we want the writer’s block to end immediately for our own convenience, acknowledging that it doesn’t work that way is much healthier. But write because someone is still reading. Most times we are our hardest critics and the pieces we dislike the most may resonate with someone else.
That summer of 2017, my writing instructor told me, “to honor the words on the page.” By this, he meant that no matter how messy, disjointed or imperfect the piece may be, stand behind the words that came from me. Sometimes writer’s block is sticking to this truth and remembering to honor the words no matter how difficult they are to form. Because one day you’ll look at that period of blockage as a time where you pushed through, even though it was hard. Inspiration will return.