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8 psychological reasons behind writer’s block and how to overcome them

Well. You’re a writer and sometimes it’s just one word which you can manage and then period. The whole day or sometimes whole days go by without a single word coming out of you. This situation is called ‘writer’s block’, which you definitely know something about. Try as you may, you just can’t seem to ‘unblock’ your block.

There have been many theories about this syndrome which affects writers of all ages, shapes, sizes, races and nationalities, and to the best and worst of writers. Anxiety, anguish, fear of not producing good work and a host of other reasons may be behind the sudden lack of all ideas and words. Let’s take a look at some of the psychological reasons which could be behind your loss of words:

8- Psychological reasons behind writer’s block

1.     Fear

FearFear is definitely a reason which causes writer’s block. Every writer fears being rejected by their readers, especially if they are putting something new out there. Or it could be the fear of being judged and criticized by critics, readers and other writers. This fear could be one of the psychological reasons why writers get the writer’s block.

2.     Wanting to create a masterpiece

Many would-be novelists never get around to writing their novels as they expect too much from themselves. Every sentence has to be perfect, all the characters have to be scintillating and the plot the most novel (pun intended!) of the century! Whereas, great writers just wrote their stories without thinking whether it would be popular or classic or a bestseller.

Perhaps writing from the heart can help to overcome writer’s block, giving up the idea of the ‘perfect book’ and just writing what feels true to you.

3.     You might have lost the plot

You might have lost the plotIn other ways, you may have lost the idea you started with somewhere along the way. Or you think you have, as while writing you get too involved in only one aspect of the story, or you’re unable to find your way back to the original idea. Maybe you are stuck in describing the setting or the costume or the ambience of a particular scene. This could be enough for the words to dry up. Among the practical tips to get over this particular problem, is to stop writing and rethink, till you’re able to solve your problem. Maybe you can visit the place you want to write about or a place similar to it, which might get you writing again.

Another of the psychological reasons could be your inability to find the right words. When this happens, one very useful tip is to read books which have similar language. Or just read your favorite author once again to see how he/she dealt with similar problem.

4.     You may have lost your enthusiasm

Many writers lose their passion midway. Writing is a full time obsession – you think about it, dream about it and craft it. One of the psychological reasons for your writer’s block could be that your brain has gone on overload or just the opposite. Maybe you have reworked your book/story/article so many times that you are mentally exhausted.

You might even be quite confused with the amount of material you have, which might be good independently but don’t fit as a whole. Take a step back and try to look objectively at what you’ve written. If you’re stuck, it maybe because your original idea got lost and one way to overcome writer’s block is to delve within yourself and see why you have lost your enthusiasm. Whatever you do, do not give up your project, or else you will soon have a pile of half-written material. Refresh yourself by reminding yourself about the message/story you wanted to share with the world. Don’t be afraid to tweak the already written material, which might turn out to be quite brilliant.

5.     Your anxiety levels might be quite high

Your anxiety levels might be quite highWhen you’re too anxious about your writing, it might plug your creativity too. The more your anxiety, the more your writing is viewed as a threat to your well-being by your brain which triggers a flight or fight reaction to writing. When this takes place, your limbic system does not send positive messages to your cortex.

The cortex is the area of the brain which is responsible for imagination, creativity and conscious thought. If you’re anxious, your amygdale releases stress hormones and you feel your heartbeat increase and you feel emotionally insecure and you ultimately feel a physical resistance to writing. Anxiety causes writer’s block and is one of the psychological reasons why you may be experiencing writer’s block.

6.     You’re not getting enough sleep

Lack of rest/sleep is a physical reason for not being able to produce any creative writing. When you’re tired, you simply cannot think. There have been studies done on the harm caused by not getting enough sleep. One study by Harvard Medical School in collaboration with the California University found that the brain basically becomes incapable of processing emotional information and putting it in the proper perspective. As writing has a lot of emotional involvement, therefore, if you don’t get your quota of sleep required by your body, you will not be able to write. Not sleeping enough could be another of the psychological reasons stopping you.

7.     You don’t have any physical exercise

You don’t have any physical exercisePractical tips which are advised by expert psychologists to beat writer’s block is to exercise. Exercise is a proven way to decrease stress, increase one’s productivity, and enhance memory and concentrate. Exercises like running encouraging new brain cells to grow in the brain’s hippocampus, the area of brain which allows you to imagine new things. A few studies have shown that running or other physical exercise improves creativity, which is what you need to overcome your block.

8.     You’re too distracted

Sometimes when you’re creativity runs dry, it may be because you are distracted by all the things on your mind. It may be bills to pay, problems in your marital life or job or other reasons which is making you frustrated. In this situation, take care of your life problems as best as you can, reduce the pressure on yourself and get back to writing again.

Drinking enough water, changing where you sit and write, taking a break and clearing your head might help to overcome the dreaded writer’s block. When it happens, don’t panic, but know that it happens to every writer, at some time or other. Just have faith in yourself and exercise, rethink and rewrite!

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Dr Prem Jagyasi (c)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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