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Being a writer we all know and fear the inevitable moments where all we can do is stare at our blank canvas without a single thing happening. Our mind floods with ideas and stories but our hands freeze and we cannot seem to regurgitate what is happening in our head. Maybe what we put down on our pages just happen to be nonlinear filth or just senseless word-vomit. We are blocked from writing. Nothing seems to work and it all sounds terrible, hurts us deep down inside knowing that it is not as good as what was painted in our minds.
Why is it that this happens?
Why do we continue to get these amazing ideas yet we cannot put it on paper (screen)?
How can we overcome it?
In the past couple of months, I have finally been able to get over the small speed bump that was momentary writer's block. Thanks to a friend of mine that I have partnered with, we create film and video content online. It seemed to flow naturally, we were popping out ideas left and right and soon enough we began production. Weekly, things gained traction and we were releasing things that we were proud of, but eventually we wanted to do a lot better. Y'know, being artists, we are critical of our own works so what we see, no matter how much we love it, can be so much better. We halted production to back track and see what we could do to be better. We took time away from each other and things got in the way. Personal and financial matters were the major cause of our downfall. Let us not forget the plague that is anxiety. Soon thereafter we met back up to discuss a new show format as well as just hang out to break out of our slumps. Ideas came back, new and old, better than ever. We seem to have an amazing chemistry when it comes to coming up with original ideas on the fly. Alcohol may have been involved but that is neither here nor there. Things were awesome! Or so we thought. We then began to fall apart again, communication grew scarce. Our work schedules interfered with our timing and ability to shoot or create and we let ourselves dive into another depression. I guess you could say that we are back in our rut.
However, I can say from my side I've finally been able to get back into my writing. I kept seeing old classmates being successful and achieving things while I was still sitting there with nothing great accomplished. I decided enough is enough, I need to create, it is what I love and want to do for the rest of my life. So HERE are the steps it took me to get back into it!
FULL DISCLAIMER: I am still in a low point, but I have finally been able to slowly get back into my flow. These are just ways that helped me, that could maybe help you as well. Take these ideas and factor them into your own methods.
Step 1: Watch or read things that inspire.
We all know your lazy self has time, you are not doing anything else so sit your butt down and watch or read something useful. If you have a specific series that inspires you, whether it be book, film, YouTube, or TV then go ahead and watch it, watch it over and over again. Watch it till you know the episodes inside and out and remind yourself what got you into it. The reason why it inspired you to create in the first place.
Step 2: Take away other distractions.
Now, I understand that it would seem like this would be the first option, but some people operate differently. I am easily distracted by, well pretty much everything, my attention can be taken away instantaneously. I get into my zone by putting an old show on my TV in the background. Specifically one that I have watched over and over and still love but I do not need to keep watching it. I do this for white noise, I cannot work in silence, I lose my mind. I also put my phone to the side or a ways from me to keep myself from getting on social media. I then sit on my computer and try to spill things. In some cases with my notebook open as well.
Step 3: Use a whiteboard or notebook.
Now, with the small flow of things coming back to you, write small ideas down. Whether it be a character, item, place, or thing. Anything that can snowball into a possible story. Keep going, trust me it will definitely come out naturally once it is on paper. More flows out without the need to force it.
Step 4: Be around (speak to) those who are creative.
It may seem a little shallow but this is true. You want to surround yourself with those who create and want to create. I have plenty of friends that are not the creative types. All they are aware of is the next big game or event on TV, their job, their relationship life, or some other drama. This is nothing that will help fuel you to make something. By all means this DOES NOT MEAN ditch your friends just limit the mindless chatter for artful chatter.
Step 5: Be selfish.
It is perfectly okay to take time for you and make this all about you. This is meant for you to be happy. You want to write, you want to create, so pay attention to what you want. Do not go out for that beer, do not meet up for game night, turn off that gaming console, say, "sorry I cannot go to (insert event here)." If your friends and family care then they know why you are doing this and you won't have to worry about explaining. In the off chance that you have to explain yourself then you can say, "I am working on an important project and I need to put all of my attention on it," or something along those lines.
These are just the steps that I took and it has really helped me out big time. I am still slowly putting my ideas down and working on them. I am creating and that is making me feel better. I understand that there are many other factors that may be preventing you from writing but please do not stop fighting and trying. Once it comes back, the block that is, just take a step back, reevaluate, and try these steps again. Once you hop back onto that horse things will feel great again.
You are good enough.
Your work matters. Keep writing, never stop creating.