The doctor will see you now.
Please sit. What brings you in today? Ah— racing literary thoughts? Elaborate plot lines failing to go from mind to page? A self-defeating attitude? The ability to procrastinate at advanced levels leading to maximum Netflix, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat time? And when you do try to write, you have an irresistible urge to backspace everything? And a lucid blank white page, you say?
I am diagnosing you with Writer’s Block. Do not worry, it is more common than you think. In fact, it may be too common; a point where its commonality has surpassed the illness itself, leaving us too quick to diagnose.
Most writers say, “The first step to curing Writer’s block is to write.” Well, easier said than done. When you care deeply about what you’re writing, and may be a bit of a perfectionist, and your sentences aren’t lining up, where there seems to be something off, whether it’s in the sentence, the plot, the character, or the voice, sitting down and simply writing seems impossible. Then the overthinking starts. The crippling doubt that will keep you away from your page for days. You lie awake thinking about your writing. You think, If I only could write, I’d probably feel better. Yet, something is keeping you from the page. It’s the fear that if you did write, it won’t be good enough. This can be a vicious cycle. I have the cure.
The cure is: to not write.
I know what you’re thinking, Not write? How can I not write and be a writer?
Well, you will still be writing every day, just sometimes it will be only in your head. It’s easy. I’ll show you how.
I want you to think of your writing as a sponge that becomes dry when every last drop of creativity is used up. And when the sponge becomes dry, when you start to feel the inklings of Writer’s Block creeping in, step away from the page, and submerge that sponge in the water of your subconscious. Go for a walk, a hike, get some coffee or a beer, watch some mindless television, go to a museum, look at other people’s art, read a good book. Fill your sponge with the things in this world that led you to write in the first place. And when your sponge is full, you will feel it. You will feel yourself becoming drawn to the page. You will be excited to sit down and write, and when you do, it will flow out of you.
Kicking the fear to write starts with trusting yourself as a writer and trusting your subconscious. As Ernest Hemingway said, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now.”