Take a look around the internet and on store bookshelves, and you can find plenty of advice for how to write better—faster, more concisely, more to market, more consistently, with more confidence, etc., etc., etc. This kind of advice is great when you are looking to be fast, concise, to market, consistent, and confident. But what if you’re a writer who is having a hard time writing? What if you’re a writer who loves writing but currently can’t get a word out?
Here are some words of wisdom which may come as a surprise: stop writing (for now).
More often than not, when we as creators find ourselves in the midst of writer’s block, we get sad, frustrated, or even angry about it. We might force ourselves to write despite feeling off our game and end up unhappy with the result (and ourselves). The more we fight against it, the more it feels like the block is never going to go away.
And therein lies the magic of this bit of advice—stop writing (for now). Give yourself some space to feel cruddy, grant permission for your brain to not want to create. You are, after all, human, with all of a human’s complexities and flaws. Sometimes we have bad days, or weeks, or months; the key is to be okay with that. Being compassionate with yourself has the remarkable effect of helping you see that, no matter how it feels, the writer’s block isn’t permanent. It can’t be, because nothing is.
The more compassion you give yourself when you are in a bad or non-creative place, the faster you’ll find your way out the other side of whatever is holding you back. So when you feel like you should be writing, but the urge to write just isn’t there—take a deep breath, set down your pen (or slide away from your keyboard), and stop writing (for now).
This too shall pass.
And when it does, you’ll be ready to take in that advice on how to be a better writer. Faster. More concise. More to market. More consistent. And with loads more confidence.
Maya Carlyle, Development Coach for The Quill & Anvil: Creative Development, is as passionate about self-care as she is about writing. Which is to say, very.
She has helped writers achieve their passions since 2017–and wants to do the same for you. An avid consumer and creator of science fiction and fantasy, she nonetheless has helped people toward their success in romance (the genre), mystery, nonfiction, and blogging. Book a private session where your mire of ideas will be worked through to get to your core goal, followed by measurable, realistic steps toward your success. Or attend a workshop to work on goals and accountability with a group, and gain insight into specific aspects of writing–feedback, tropes, and pacing, to name a few.