It’s probably a testament to writers’ block just how long this article has sat here, all empty and quiet. There are other article drafts that have sat around for longer, many of which are leftovers from the golden years of SPUF (rest in peace) written and started by people who never came back and will never be finished. Some of those articles may end up getting adopted one day, but as far as I’m concerned, they’re just part of the baggage around here now. They were still there when we hit 2000 articles and now we’re straying further and further away from the big 2K, they’re still sitting around. Heck, in that time, I’ve published over 1000 articles myself on the Daily SPUF.
But writers’ block is a real problem that has probably affected every single writer out there. It’s not a huge, crushing monster of an enemy, it’s not dangerous like anti-freedom of speech laws or totalitarian governments or burning books or anything like that. It’s a dull, boring static that attacks at random. It’s like running into a brick wall. And it’s always there.
Where that brick wall comes from, no one knows. No one knows when or how it will strike either. It’s not so much that you run into a brick wall though. The feeling is closer to that of a Wile E Coyote and Roadrunner sketch, where that wall can come from anywhere, foiling the Coyote no matter what he does. You could be minding your own business, trying to get a thing done and boom, sudden brick wall. But said brick wall could also slowly sneak around and ruin your writing for days or weeks at a time. Or even years, if you’re really unlucky.
But what can you do when writers’ block strikes? I don’t really have any solid answers for you, because it varies from person to person. I tend to do one of two things: I either push through the writers’ block or I stop what I’m doing completely and go and do something else. That something else has to be vaguely related though. For example, if I’m writing a Warframe article and I get stuck, I go and play Warframe for a bit. Nothing in particular, just a little bit. Maybe it’ll jog my memory. If I’m writing a Phoviverse story, I’ll go and do some drawing or maybe read some old stories. As long as it’s vaguely related, it might help loosen up your mind and get you back into the swing of things.
The latter isn’t really the best method, if I’m honest. It’s very easy to get distracted and end up never coming back to your writing. In fact, a lot of those unfinished articles I mentioned earlier actually belong to me. I simply lost the will to continue writing them or even get started on them. I’d write the title, maybe write an opening paragraph and then completely stuck. I have a whole unfinished crossover fan-fiction story that I’ll probably never finish, thanks to writers’ block. I just sit there, staring at a screen and not wanting to do anything related to the writing in question.
Pushing through the writers’ block though is something else entirely. For me, at least. You see, I have this rule that I have to write 500 words a day, a complete, coherent piece of writing. I’ve basically forced myself to write something every day for the last few years, starting from January 2016. If I don’t do this, then I will have failed myself. But that’s a huge amount of time and dedication and not everyone has that.
Still, I am just forcing myself to write. It doesn’t really matter. Quality over quantity AND quantity over quality come into play here. Normally, I just end up writing bits and pieces, taking it a paragraph at a time. Sometimes I’ll snap out of it and just start writing normally. Either way, I force myself to sit down and write something, anything.
That might seem like a bad idea. In fact, it might cause me to write a load of rubbish. But that’s okay. It’s fine to write crap sometimes. Because you can always go back and re-write things later, you can take things out and maybe use parts of your writing somewhere else. My point is, forcing my way through writers block will produce something of use. It doesn’t matter that some of my writing will be bad, because some of my writing might also be good.
Really, at the end of the day, some writing is better than no writing. You can defeat writers’ block, you just need to not be so harsh on yourself.