Writing Your Way Through a Writer’s Block.
Writing is one of the vehicles via which we enter the sacred realms of our inner worlds.
As we dive deeper within and document whatever we are trying to convey at the moment, we find that soon enough this individual narrative has turned into a collective experience. That’s what happens when you release your story into the world and allow for others to find validation, inspiration and be touched by it in some shape or form.
To write is simply to express in the written word. But without the author’s soul, the story becomes generalized or plain.
I like to think that there is a sweet in-between, a small connector between your heart and mind, where your idea and your writing meet. The problem is, most people spend way too much energy on the mental part of it, resulting in overthinking and never being able to release the idea into writing.
The idea starts brewing in the mind, but without the heart of it (the emotions, the colors, the descriptions), you might as well dedicate your work to writing corporate training manuals. Manuals are pretty straightforward and don’t require much inner life. In this article however, I’d like to focus on expressing your true voice through writing.
First and foremost, writing needs to be personal. If you don’t feel comfortable with yourself, then it’s time to start seeing writing like stand-up comedy, a moment where you bare your soul and allow the mind to step aside, which will be resourceful in post-production (editing).
Does that mean you have to write all of your childhood trauma? No! Oftentimes this transparency is expressed via your characters. I actually found myself writing a script in which one character embodied more of me on the outside and the other character was my subconscious mind.
Whatever you are writing though needs to be real for you at that moment. If you can’t transport yourself there, then I suggest the following:
Daydream your way into it. If you struggle with giving your writing the soul of it, you need to tap into the sacred realm of your inner world long before you start typing or jotting down ideas. In order to access your vast and rich field of ideas, imagination and genius, you need to tap into your emotions. I like to sage the house before a big project, since smells help awaken our inner knowing and enliven our senses.
Music is also a great way to transport us to places, simply notice how you feel when you hear a Celtic song as opposed to a jazz song. Close your eyes and lie on the couch while you let the music enter your body and give you its own color. Images may start popping up, which will be starting points for your story.
Once this becomes a habitual thing to do to open up your creativity, you will have enough material to feel confident enough to start writing. A great writer can visualize new worlds in the most ordinary places.
Once you start picking up the habit of visualizing, your imagination will be more accessible and not just when you need to have an idea. This way you let the flow carry you instead of forcing the flow and blocking the whole creative process of expression. That takes me to my second point.
Most people struggle with writing (despite the obvious insecurities about grammar) because they interrupt the flow of ideas, so one thing I want you to embrace from now on is that every story you write (fiction or non-fiction) has its own flow. You do not control your writing, so abandon the idea of what it should be and just write!
Another exercise to help ground this intention is to see writing from a different perspective.
Imagine yourself as an empty container via which different elements (ideas) will begin brewing from the top of your head and travel all the way to the tips of your fingers. Once you start writing, you must forget that you are the author, and consider yourself as nothing but a mere messenger.
Allow the message of your story to take over you, don’t stop, don’t correct and don’t erase. Why? Because in doing so, you are interrupting the flow. You can always edit when you are done, but without completing it, I find that many authors block their own potential, leading to a bad streak of never believing in themselves or what they have to say. Stopping is like doubting, do you get it?
Of course it’s different if your fingers are tired, but when you are in the flow because you visualized enough prior to writing, you won’t even notice how much time has gone by and you are already at 30 pages or 70. Writing is about trusting yourself enough to know that you will be able to translate whatever message is coming to you.
Why translate? Because we are translators, we are constantly taking ideas (which are not solid) and transforming them into plot lines, metaphors, characters and messages. Writing is not so much about focusing, but more about allowing.
If you find that you start stopping and that your mind begins chatting about how you are such a bad writer or a failure, then shift gears. Get a notebook which will be your journal from now on, and whenever you are stopped by your critical mind, put your story on pause, stop writing and head over to your special notebook (journal).
Write down all the judgments about yourself that surface during writing times, before or after, and on the other side of the page write down a positive belief you wish to replace that with. Once you are hit by a negative judgment again, open your journal and read aloud the positive belief. With time, your mind will start having more flexibility about what you are capable of instead of your own mind’s judgments.
Applying these small exercises aimed at making you unstuck may provide a new writing routine which will be easier than resisting the recurring problems that led you to writer’s block. However, our last point has to do with surrender. The true talent of a writer is mastering surrender.
We can control the environment prior to writing with rituals and allow for a critical mindset during the process of editing, but after all of that is done, you must surrender your story.
A lot of authors have frustrations about how many people buy their books, how many copies remain in their shelves and competition. Truth is, every work has its own destiny, your only responsibility is to choose the best platform for your needs and put it out there (and market it yourself or with the help of others), using your own internal guidance.
Even with a pro, you may or may not find fulfillment about how your book came out. I say this because if you book a big commercial contract, it will probably be at the cost of chopping half of your content and it won’t be the same as it was when you crafted it. Not everyone will love your book. You may move one person in a million, and that is an amazing accomplishment, but it should never be your end goal.
You write because you have a need to express, period. And true writers continue to write despite everything on the outside because, above all, they remembers they are a messenger with a responsibility to communicate whatever is truthful to them at the moment.
Laura Piquero is a writer with a background in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), who helps people with personalized writing services and Creative Coaching. She focuses on branding with integrity and helping people give their writing projects a voice that is authentic to who they are. You could follow her on Instagram, or visit her website.