Writer’s Block. It’s something most writers suffer from. Though I’ve never gone through extended periods of inactivity, I have moved to different stories because I cannot figure out where one novel should go or how to rewrite it.
There are tons of different blogs and videos on how to overcome this problem and everyone has a different opinion on it. But, as I was going through researching other’s people thoughts on it, I realized how little I understood of the actual science behind it and just how bad writer’s block can be.
So today I’m going to share with all you lovely people some interesting things I learned about writer’s block.
1. The Broca’s Area Is Partially To Blame
The Broca’s Area is a region of the frontal lobe of the dominant side of your brain, in charge of speech production. In a sense, it is where you find your words. When the Broca’s Area stops working—known as expressive aphasia—so does your ability to produce spoken or written words.
While causes of this can be as serious as a stroke, with one hundred billion neurons—not to mention countless synaptic connections—it would make sense that your brain will not always be about the make perfect connections.
The next time you can’t think of a word—it’s on the tip of my tongue, I swear—don’t get upset at yourself: it’s just your brain not making perfect connections. And with all the work it’s doing all the time—just getting enough oxygen to itself is a big task—give it a break.
2. There Are Always Worse Cases
There are writers I’ve known who complained that they haven’t written in weeks or months, or even a couple years. I kind of want to pat them on the back and say, “There, there, at least you’re not Ralph Ellison.”
Ralph Ellison published the Invisible Man (not the horror classic, but the book examining the invisibility of blacks in the early twentieth century) in 1952, and did not publish another novel. Ever.
Constantly he told people he was working on a book, but never finished it. He died in 1994 (oddly enough, the year I was born). I mean, forty-two years of writer’s block is a lot.
And Ellison is not alone. Henry Roth (author of Call It Sleep, published first in 1934) went a whapping sixty-one years without writing anything.
So when you complain about your own writer’s block, just think of these poor guys.
3. Creative Block
Honestly, I think Writer’s Block is a bit of a misnomer. It’s usually not the case that you can’t write and more of the case of you don’t know what to write. It may be that the next scene of your story isn’t coming to you, or even the next word (I have been known to spend an hour just figuring out what word would incorporate all my immense ideas).
When it comes to creative block, you lack the creative ideas for what to write. I mean, you could write—and I have many times—but then your produced work feels bland and uninteresting. This is because, while your determination may be there, your imagination is not. The work you produce will be lackluster and mediocre.
So the solution isn’t about writing or pushing through, but instead finding that spark to get re-inspired.
Writer’s Block is something highly subjective. Both in what it is, how it affects us, and how to fix it. But look on the positive side: life isn’t all about writing. Even the writers that I mentioned above—and many more—who suffered from Writer’s Block didn’t stop living. They became professors, got other jobs, or raised families (and a few got into drugs…let’s ignore that part).
What I’m saying is that, what I’ve learned is, Writer’s Block is not the end of the world. Because let’s face it, if you’re out in the world seeking happiness, odds are that inspiration will come around some corner, even if it’s years down the road.
Harper Lee, author of one of my favorite books To Kill A Mockingbird, went fifty-five years without publishing anything, just to come out with Go Set a Watchman in 2015 (right before she died in 2016).
What are some horror stories you have about Writer’s Block? Or, on the other hand, what are some solutions you’ve found to help get writing again. Let me know down in the comments, be sure to subscribe for more content, and, as always,
Best wishes in your life filled with adventure,