You’re an hour and forty-five minutes into your best chapters, turning page after page, and then it happens…NOTHING! Your mind draws a blank. You hit a wall—no wait, it’s that dreaded writer’s block syndrome!
You could stop, but instead you decide to sit there, staring intently at the blank pages hoping to see something that isn’t there. Then, the minutes pass you by and they quickly turn into agonizing hours until you begin to doubt yourself. Maybe, you’re not as good a writer as you thought you were. Maybe it’s time to quit.
We’ve all heard this famous quote at some point in our lives, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,”—Benjamin Franklin. Most of us try to live our lives by it. We work hard, we reap the rewards. And play time comes after. We’re so focused on the destination that we forget to enjoy the journey; to stop and take a second to admire the scenery, to smile and simply be happy.
But what causes writer’s block?
Here are a few common reasons I’ve heard from other writers.
- Fear: Some writers fear putting their thoughts on paper because it puts them in a vulnerable position to have their work be criticized by others.
- Perfectionism: Some writers have a need to be perfect, and as a result their progress is stagnant.
- Imposter Syndrome: Some writers harbor feelings of inadequacy and suffer from chronic self-doubt that hinders their ability to think clearly.
- Lack of Structure: Some writers don’t know where to begin, lacking a routine, and find themselves lost in the process.
- Exhaustion: Some writers are simply overworking themselves but feel the need to push on even when they’re running on empty.
As a writer, my personal demon has always been perfectionism. I’m my own worst critic because I know that I can always do better. And quite honestly, I want to be the best at what I do—write. But I’ve managed to tame my demon by allowing myself to procrastinate. Yes, that’s right! It’s okay to procrastinate!
Even the most disciplined of writers make time for themselves. Whether it’s to go out for a stroll around the park or to curl up with a good book by the fireplace, even the best of us need to escape for a while. Writing is as much a craft as it is an art. And art cannot be rushed. It must be nurtured—inspired by life.
Here’s a list of my recommendations if you’re drawing a blank on how to procrastinate:
- Go out for walk
- Curl up with a good book
- Hang out with friends
- Listen to music
- Binge on Netflix for a day
- Spend time with family
- Be intimate with your loved one
- Eat good food
- Play video games
- Volunteer at a local shelter
My point is this: forget about writing if you find yourself drawing a blank.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a break from writing to enjoy some time for yourself. Take a half-day, a full day, or even two days off! You’ll thank yourself for it.
Better yet, you will find that when you do return to work, your thoughts are clearer, and you’ll be looking over your writing with a fresh pair of eyes. I’m speaking from personal experience. Some of my best work to date was inspired by allowing myself to separate my passion from life. The best way to kickstart writer’s block is by kicking back and separating yourself from your work. Give your mind time to cool off and reenergize itself. You might even find yourself being inspired along the way.
One of the greatest entrepreneurs of our generation, Jeff Bezos said it best, “Work hard, have fun, make history.”
So, go out there, live life, and procrastinate!
Just remember to come back and finish what you’ve started!