Cure Writers Block

cure-writers-blockOne of the hardest things about writing is figuring out how to cure writers block. There’s the flashing, taunting cursor, that new word document, that haunting feeling that, shoot, you’ve got to turn all those thoughts and ideas into your head into actual words on a page? Writers block is a difficult feeling. And it never fully goes away, no matter how much experience you get writing. It’s natural.

Part of this fear, I think, is from the sense that once you put something down, it’s there–no going back, you’re locked into that sentence or that word, and that’s it. As a teacher and editor, I’ve gotten countless papers turned in to me that meander away from their point, with the student always defending themselves by saying “well, I was halfway through the paper, and had to keep going!

What you have to remember, though, is that that’s not so at least half of writing is re-writing. Very rarely will you start from point A and write until you hit a word count limit, and have turned out the highest quality work you’re capable of. Almost never, as a matter of fact.

A lot of struggling writers don’t fully realize that writing is a process, and, often, you can be as surprised as anyone else as to where you end up. You don’t just write–you pre-write and plan (these would be those outlines and mindmaps your high school English teacher probably made you do, though those are only two methods–there are as many ways to pre-plan your writing as there are people to do that writing), you write, and most importantly you go back. You have someone read over it here at Wordsmith Essays, we’d love it if it were our team of online editors! That’s what we’re here for: to help catch errors or suggest ways to improve, and then you go back and write again.

“Kill your darlings.” That’s a phrase you might have heard writers use. It means not to be afraid to let go of text that just doesn’t work, no matter how much time you put into it. If it’s not good, you have to let it go. If there’s only one sentence in there you like, you take that one and junk the rest. Some people find that, itself, terrifying.

Me? I find that that “killing my darlings” actually helps with the initial problem; the fear of that blinking cursor. Yes, what you write may be no good the first time, but, you know what? It’s easier than speaking, because you can go back and make those changes. You’re not locked into what you’re saying until it’s time to turn it in or publish or however you’re sharing it. Until then, the only person who is judging you is you. You can take your time, and craft something that says exactly what you want to say

Give me the written word over having to give a speech any day. Because once you get over that first bout of writer’s block, you have infinitely more control over your message in writing, as long as you take the opportunity provided to go back and re-write.

photo credit: Drew Coffman via photopin cc

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