by Amy Letinsky
There’s a serious condition plaguing writers: writer’s block. I’ve discovered five common causes, and by diagnosing your typical cause, you can choose a treatment and find a cure.
Cause #1: ANXIETY
The pressure gets to you, and you freeze.
1. Don’t wait until the last minute.
2. Pray / Give Jesus your burden
3. Drink Chamomile Tea (instead of anxiety inducing coffee, the writer’s typical choice)
4. Free Write. Put the pen to paper, and let go for a few minutes.
5. Write in a different format for awhile. The genre might be stressing you out. Try writing a letter about your topic.
6. Have a discussion about the topic. Call a friend to chat about your topic for awhile.
Cause #2: UNFOCUSED
You can’t keep your mind on the task before you. Your thoughts are a jumble.
1. Get rid of distractions (pets, Facebook, children…just while you’re writing)
2. Make new distractions. Some people like to work in a busy, loud environment, like a coffee shop. Others like noise canceling headphones.
3. Try a new location
5. Mind Map/Cluster. Learn more about this organization method here.
Cause #3: PERFECTIONISM
Negative thoughts take control. You worry about not writing well enough.
1. Silence the inner critic.
2. Arm yourself with inspiring Bible verses.
3. Stop fearing man. Perfectionism is rooted in our fear of how others are going to perceive us, and the only solution to this is #4.
4. Cultivate the Fear of the Lord. Edward T. Welch explains this in his amazing book, When People are Big and God is Small.
5. Write Dark. Literally turn off the lights or the screen. Don’t let those imperfect words distract you.
Cause #4: INTIMIDATION
You’re overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand.
1. Write a checklist / Break it into smaller tasks
2. Make small, regular goals
3. Start in the middle. That first sentence is always a doozie. Start in elsewhere. Do the first sentence last.
Cause #5: EXHAUSTION
You’re sick of your topic and are falling asleep at the keyboard.
1. Take a nap. Don’t do this all the time, or you’ll never write.
2. Remember your first love (Rev 2:4). Of course, it’s Jesus. But also, go back to why you started writing, why you chose this project.
3. Sabbath. When’s the last time you truly sabbathed? Sabbath from not just writing but from all work. I highly recommend The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan.
4. Read something inspiring. Go to your writing heroes and let them inspire you to greatness.
Amy Letinsky has been a writing instructor for over six years. She currently teaches college writing and literature courses online. Her writing courses focus on the use of research in writing and the nonfiction essay. Read more from Amy at her blog: amyletinsky.wordpress.com.