annoyance · anxiety · Authenticity · creativity · Life · Meandering Thoughts · mindfulness

Writers’ Block and the 5 Stages of Grief

I always seem to have a problem deciding what my next post should be about.  I have so many sitting in draft mode that are only an opening paragraph, half written or even fully formed; I’m just not happy with it.  I always know that every Wednesday, after a new post goes up, I sit staring at a blank screen.

Don’t get me wrong…I have TONS of ideas.  I’ll be walking around the supermarket, the bookstore, or just the sidewalk, and I come up with great one liners that I can never get past.  I never seem to know how to flush them out.  It’s probably one of the hardest parts of writing for me.  Digging into the details can be extremely difficult.  So far I have the following partly drafted or just not how I want it…

  1. My 8lb Dictator
  2. 15 Reasons Arya Stark is My Spirit Animal
  3. To Whom It May Concern
  4. Letting Go is Harder than Knowing When to
  5. Fan Girling 101
  6. Being (un)Comfortable in Your Own Skin

2013-artwork-writers-block-sketch

I go through a few phases when I’m blocked and can’t finish what I want to write, much like the stages of grief.

  1. Denial –   Whenever I hit a block, I refuse to believe that I’m run out of juice.  I type aimlessly, stare at my page and will words to appear.  I never give in to the fact that I’m stumped and the creative juices aren’t flowing.  The page will be up all day, and I’ll constantly go back to it as if something has changed.  But I refuse to say I’m blocked…I’m just busy.
  2. Anger – Ahh the blinking cursor.  Whenever I’ve run out of steam, or I can’t think of what direction to go in, it mocks me.  I stare at my screen, and the stupid cursor just blinks at me. It’s a constant reminder that thoughts aren’t flowing and my fingers aren’t moving.  I eventually slam down the screen of my laptop but normally quickly open it back up again. Jerk.
  3. Bargaining – I know this stage well and always end up spending several days in it.  It’s when I swear I’ll write as soon as I finish something.  I just need to put my laundry away, and then I’ll sit and put something on the page.  Oh, I need to run to the store quickly, and then I’m really going to hunker down.  I’m going to pull a Hemingway…I’ll have a few drinks and words will just come to me.  I know it!
  4. Depression – How come everyone can do this but me?  There are so many blogs in the world, and they are pumping out content.  I can’t believe I even thought I could do this.  What’s the point?  Why am I even writing? Does anyone even read this? It’s not like any good right?
  5. Acceptance (kind of) – Alright, I’m blocked. I’ve officially run out of things to say.  There has to be something that will spark me though.  There has to be something that I’m dying to tell people.  Let’s try a different topic…

That’s how almost every one of the above posts has gone or is currently going through.  Each one is at a different stage, and sometimes I wonder if I’ll finish any of them.  Some are just too fun to NOT try to write.  Come on….searching for snarky yet wonderful GIFs of Arya Stark….that’s a fun Sunday afternoon if I ever heard one!

How do you break out of that road block and get back into the zone?  How do you restart your creative engines? Does anyone else experience these things?  I’m assuming so or else there wouldn’t be a phrase for it.  Tell me how you get passed it.

 

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37 thoughts on “Writers’ Block and the 5 Stages of Grief

  1. I honestly can say I haven’t had this happen yet…however I have 66 years of stuff I have wanted to get out and down on paper(online) so I have an endless amount of things to talk about. I think if I would have to talk about just one thing it may be harder…but I talk about everything so that makes it easier. I also jot down notes whenever I think of something…little note book and pen go with me everywhere…even the bathroom..LOL..

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  2. Great post! I can totally relate. So many of the same things run through my head regularly. My trick is to just write anyway….even if it’s crap and even if I only do it for a few minutes.. Eventually, things start flowing….or they don’t…but at least I’ve written something.

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  3. Yes yes yes!! I’ve been going through this exactly. Writer’s block is the worst but I’m glad I’m not alone. And hey, it doesn’t last forever, right? To break out of my writer’s block, I usually break away from writing for a bit and just wander outside- even if this means just wandering my own neighborhood. It clears my head. Sometimes the best inspiration comes from a very unexpected place 🙂

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  4. I have not yet had this happen, but I also have not been writing for long. I kept a lot inside and did not express myself a lot over a lot of years so I find I am pouring a lot of information out right now, even though I am not posting it all.

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  5. I agree with the poster above who said that when they experience writer’s block, they walk away and do something else. I never believe this before — always just pushed myself to write and it was PAINFUL! And my work reflected the forced nature from where I was writing.

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  6. Hey, this is unrelated-ish, but did you mean “problem” instead of “probably” in your first sentence? And is Denial supposed to be the first point in your 5-point list?

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      1. No worries. My editor eye was at work (not to mention my inner perfectionist) 😛

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  7. Lol, I do go through stages of grief too! I realized that shutting the screen and taking out a paper and pen gets me started. Problem is then something I wrote two weeks ago i.still have not transcribed into wordpress, and it’s a good one too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Right know I have what I like to call a ‘diarrhea of ideas’ coming out of my head. I also just got back from vacation so that helps! If I can’t think of something to write about I plan a trip or do something new. I will either write about that or think about something to write while immersed in a new experience.

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  9. I agree…great post. I really can relate to this one. The only thing I can do is just make myself struggle through. I can’t say it always works as evidenced by my draft folder as well.

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  10. I can totally relate with most of these – whenever I start getting really frustrated I like to take a few hours away and do something just for ME. Then I tend to be able to continue. I hate the depression stage. Why do we have to compare ourselves to others, it is not helpful in the least!

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  11. The only solution to get over a block is to rest for me. Step away do something else because obviously I became overwhelm. Meditation and Music helps rechange my creativity too!

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  12. A few months ago I was in a similar depressed state. Our company got acquired and a lot of co-workers were laid off. I remember how it affected me so and I often experienced writer’s block just like you. Surprisingly I got through it by watching comedy videos. It really worked for me.

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  13. This is so funny. I am still new at blogging so I have pages of ideas to go through still before I run out of ideas.

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  14. hahaha I can so relate to this post! What really annoys me is when I have time to sit and write… NOTHING. But when I’m super busy doing something else, inspiration hits HARD! So annoying!

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  15. I can totally relate to this post! I have had this happen on a sponsored post. I think I work myself up to being filled with pressure that I block. I have to walk away and regroup

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  16. I, like the majority of the other bloggers who’ve commented; can relate to your post. I have more drafts sitting in my wordpress, than I have published posts! The annoying thing is, inspiration seems to arrive when I don’t have access to a computer or pen. Then the minute I sit down at my computer, nothing comes. I tend to read a lot, during periods of writer’s block. I think it’s an occupational hazard, that afflicts us all at some point or another.

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  17. I really like how you applied the 5 stages to writers block. I’m so new to blogging I haven’t experienced writers block yet. I’ll have to bookmark this as I’m sure I’ll get it down the road.

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  18. Blogging should not be forced. As a lifesthle blogger in the beginning I used to think what I would right about next. I was keen on even splitting something into two so that I could write two posts. Fast forward and now I sometimes omit things I had to write because of busy schedules. You are not alone sweetie! It will pass.

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  19. Writer’s block is such a tricky thing! I’m learning that if I have a list of posts ready, it helps to inspire me to write. One of the next things on my list of things to accomplish is to schedules when I’ll be posted what content for the summer. However, I haven’t done it yet because I need to find a system that allows me to break the schedule when I’m inspired to write about something else–those are my best posts.

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  20. Haha. This is so great! I do my best to take advantage of the times that ideas just come too fast and furious so I have something ready to go when I have writer’s block. An editorial calendar has really helped with this too. I love the correlation between the stages of grief!

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  21. I am extremely impressed together with your writing skills and also with the
    format on your weblog. Is this a paid topic or did you customize
    it yourself? Anyway stay up the nice quality writing, it’s uncommon to peer a nice weblog like this one today.

    Like

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