Two summers ago I had a great change and revitalization in my life. At the time I was twenty-two years old, and had been stuck in a perpetual writer’s block for almost five years, a period of time during which I essentially wrote nothing at all except a page in a notebook once a week, if that often at all, and my writing was terrible if I do say so myself. I was dejected and uninspired, lacking all motivation to write out what I thought could maybe be satisfactory ideas. It was an overwhelming task to make my ideas come to life and I wasted a lot of time dwelling on the block that was hindering me.
I did a lot of reading, but I was unable to get my writing to “work” so to speak. My process was all convoluted and my mind couldn’t organize a story to save its life. I would begin writing, but give up after a paragraph in frustration and either shut off my computer or close my notebook. I didn’t think I would ever make it as a writer and I had no idea what I was going to do.
Then, that summer of 2014, I decided it was finally time to push through this writing block no matter what it took. I began waking up early and created a writing schedule where I forced myself to write for at least ten minutes. At the time I had read some great stories by Tolstoy, Kafka, and Dostoevsky and, upon reading about the writing processes of various authors, I began to formulate my own.
I started a few writing projects and began by handwriting in my notebooks and journals concerning where I was in my life and what ideas I had. I had written the beginning of many stories that at the time went nowhere, but I kept them to expand upon in the future. I started keeping up with my daily activities and moods to track my life from both a general and mental health standpoint. I took notes about life and scribbled out characters and plot ideas.
I also started modeling my writing after people who I considered brilliant crafters of words, despite maybe not enjoying their stories themselves. Their dedication inspired me to be dedicated myself and through that my writer’s block began to lift over the course of weeks. Ten minutes in the morning turned into an hour and soon I was pumping out several pages of writing a day rather than one a week. That productivity boosted my mood and confidence, and new ideas emerged like wildfire.
Just by forcing myself to sit down and write in notebooks a little each day got my mind working and my writing habits growing, improving my style and gradually developing my own voice. I have several different styles I write in for various topics or genres, which came about from reading the works of other writers. Writers read. That was what one of my high school teachers had told me and I never really understood the importance of such a statement. Yes I loved to read, but analyzing what I was reading and putting new writing conventions into practice was something I had been slacking on.
Since that summer I have had a resurgence in my writing and I am certain that I can make my ideas come to fruition. Certainly it is hard work and takes a lot of time and energy, but when you just make yourself dabble in your passion for a few minutes a day, whatever it may be, you’ll be surprised what can happen. It is an eye-opening experience.
This post is unusually short for me, and I can go into more details about some of the types of writing projects I worked on in order to experiment with my personal craft in later posts. I did want to encourage those struggling with blocks of any kind to force yourself to sit and work on it for ten minutes a day. It can go a long way.