Do you suffer from writer’s block? If you do, then part of learning how to overcome writer’s block is to understand what writer’s block actually is. Writer’s block is a way of life only if you allow it to be. You can eliminate writer’s block because you, in fact, have control over it. Yes, you are in control, and here is how to overcome writer’s block:
Understand what causes writer’s block. Writer’s block is caused by your mind’s preoccupation. This simply means that you likely have other things on your mind that you feel is more pressing that writing. You can call this outside noise because it is noise, or distraction, from what you want to work on, which is your writing. So, why is this outside noise so powerful as to keep you from something that you want to do? This outside noise produces cognitive dissonance, or discord, within you, which takes you mentally away from your writing, or creates writer’s block.
According to Leon Festinger, your thinking cannot tolerate discord, so your mind struggles to resolve it in one way or another. You only have two ways to resolve discord in your thinking: (1) Change what is causing the discord, or (2) change the way you think about it. Whichever way you choose to resolve the discord in your mind, you cannot carry forward with anything else until you have, indeed, resolved the discord. This means that you cannot write because your focus is on something else, causing you to suffer from writer’s block. So, what can you do about this?
Resolve the cognitive dissonance. You might know (and you might not know) what is bothering you. You must discover what is bothering you and use one of the two ways to resolve the dissonance, or discord, in your mind. Even if you have to accept (for the time being) whatever is bothering you, this does not mean that you cannot change it later. You just have to come to a point of thinking about your problem that will allow you to tolerate the problem to reduce the outside noise. This way you can begin to overcome writer’s block.
So, if you cannot change a problem, then learn to tolerate it until you can change it. This will reduce the cognitive dissonance, or discord, resulting in less outside noise for you. If you can make a situation more tolerable, the situation will require less cognitive energy from you, freeing up some of your cognitive energy to spend on your writing. The problem might still be there, but if you can at least reduce the outside noise so that you can begin writing again, you will eventually find yourself unblocked in regards to writing, relieving you from writer’s block.
Use writing as a way to prevent outside noise. When you begin writing again, you must write regularly because writing serves as a way to channel your energy into something productive. This means that you are controlling the outside noise in your mind. This makes everything more manageable in your life because you are forcing outside noise into its rightful place, using it only to signal that you need to change something, rather than dwell on it. Regulating outside noise helps you resolve cognitive dissonance, and you take away the negative power cognitive dissonance has on your writing when you resolve it, relieving you of writer’s block.
Make writing a necessity. Chances are that you write because you are creative, and creativity is not a pleasure in life; it is a necessity because it is what keeps you alive. Even more, it keeps you sane. It is actually your very existence because you exist through other people, and this means that you must let people know that you exist through your individuality. Who would you be if you offered nothing to others but normal, human movements and actions? You would exist as a generic person, one that others would not likely be valued or remembered, so your creativity is necessary on a daily basis to let others know that you exist as an autonomous human being, and you need to let people know this so that they will treat you as a specific individual.
The bottom line is that your creativity is one of the vital ways you achieve autonomy, so if you allow outside noise to block your creativity, then you allowing noise to block a portion of your very existence. Get rid of the outside noise by resolving the cognitive dissonance in your mind so that you can write. A writer must write to fully exist.
Communications: A First Look at Communication Theory, by Em Griffin