Stuck in your writing. Is this writer’s block?

downloadIs this writer’s block?
By: 
c. 2014 Beth Barany

Do you really want to be writing, but aren’t? Do you suffer from writers block? That’s painful.

Well, I’m going to share a few tips with you right now that just may shake you out of writers block and get you doing what you really love—writing.

It’s super painful to not be writing when you wish to be. But the root cause of writers block may not be what you think.

I’ve noticed when I’m not writing and I really want to be that there’s something else going on beneath the surface.  At first it’s nebulous. It’s hard to pinpoint. If I could pinpoint it, it would be easy. I wouldn’t have writers block.  |

What I’ve discovered over 16 years of being focused on my fiction is that when I have writers block it’s because the material is scary.

So take a deep breath. Often writers block has nothing to do with not being able to write and everything to do with facing those dark corners of your material.

We can quibble over the true source of writers block right now, but really what I’m curious about is leaning in to those dark places, those places in your fiction or in your nonfiction that are scary to go.

Imagine you’re standing on the edge of something, but you don’t know what it is. Your body is scared. You’re in a panic. It can feel like you’re on the edge of a high cliff, on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

This is a sure sign that the step you’re about to take in your writing will challenge you in some way.

Here’s the good news: You are a writer. And that means you have committed to putting words on the page. You have committed to sharing what is deep in your heart. You have committed to sharing what is in your imagination. You have committed to sharing that which desires to come out. Being a writer is like being an archaeologist of the soul.

I used to think that I didn’t write about myself because I’m a fiction writer. But in fact I do. When I write about my heroine going off on a new venture into an unknown land that is a metaphor for me venturing into new places. I have been stuck on that part of my story for a while. I didn’t know what she would encounter. I didn’t know how to make the story juicy. I didn’t know what to do or what to say. You could say I was having writers block. But I didn’t look at it that way. I just looked at it as if I didn’t have enough information. I needed to know more about my character. This is another source of writers block, especially for fiction writers. But if you’re writing nonfiction about people, the same thing can apply. You need to know your character better. And especially, you need to know what your character fears.

So it all comes back to fear. Can we face our fears? Can we stand at the edge of the cliff and look the darkness in the face?

When people come to me with writers block, I give them an exercise. I say, “Set the timer for 20 minutes and write. Write on anything. Write about what you fear.” If they find that a challenge, then I give them a 1-minute writing exercise. In this 1-minute writing exercise I recommend that they stand at the kitchen counter and set the timer for one minute. It’s amazing what you can uncover in 1 minute.

If you really want to be writing and you’re not writing, and none of the above apply to you, then I have one more suggestion.

And the suggestion is opposite everything I have said so far. And that is to take a break. Go do something inspiring. Go to the beach. Go see a movie. Hang out with friends. Experience something new. Sometimes when we’re stuck in our writing, we’re tired. Take a break. Take a nap.

But then come back to your writing refreshed. Communicate what you really want to say. Communication is the constant. If you have something to say I am sure you will find a way to say it.

But then come back to your writing refreshed. Communicate what you really want to say. Communication is the constant. If you have something to say I am sure you will find a way to say it.

Your job is to actually write. Go.

Beth-Barany_360by270-croppedABOUT THE AUTHOR

Based in Oakland, California, Beth Barany is an award-winning novelist, creativity coach for writers, and book production shepherd. With her coaching, consulting, and teaching programs, she helps novelists write, publish and market their books. Along with her husband, bestselling novelist, Ezra Barany, they help authors of all kinds produce their books and get them published on Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes & Noble in e-book and print format.

She offers a complimentary consultation to authors curious about getting support from her. Be sure to sign up for that because appointments fill up fast.  More about Beth and her products and services at http://www.BethBarany.com.  In her free time, Beth enjoys practicing capoeira, traveling, playing with her cats, and watching movies with her husband.

 

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