We do a lot of writing at LLLR – whether it’s articles, letters, or fiction – it’s a bit of a task sometimes.
When we hire people, we look for two things:
- Someone who is organised and devoted to writing, not just to writing for us – but someone who’s ambitious in the writing world. After all, if you don’t like writing – there’s more chance of you suffering from ‘Writer’s Block‘.
- Someone with the knowledge to understand the difference between Procrastination and Writer’s Block.
In the past, we’ve hired people who weren’t all that interested in writing. They wanted to help but didn’t want to write. This lead to us having a lot of volunteers suffering from Writer’s Block… But it wasn’t Writer’s Block, it was much simpler than that. It was procrastination.
The difference between Writer’s Block and Procrastination is that one is a mental block that can happen to people if they lack a muse, while the other one is an escape – it’s when someone doesn’t want to do something, so they come up with a million and one excuses to not do it.
I can’t say I’ve never procrastinated, I do it all the time with stuff that I feel I should do but don’t. For example, after publishing my first book, Tobias, I quickly announced that the second book was in production, which it is. But I said I’d be releasing it for Christmas… And that didn’t happen, at all.
I stopped writing Family Ties in September and forgot about the book and the deadline until this month, and I can’t say I actually overlooked it because I didn’t. If anything, I just procrastinated. That happened because I was avoiding a particular situation that was going to be happening in the second book that I wasn’t comfortable with and I wasn’t looking forward to writing it. This is just procrastination, not Writer’s Block. However, I have suffered from Writer’s Block in the past, one of the most notable situations being when I was writing My Mate. The book was on Wattpad and started production in 2012, but it wasn’t finished until 2016. It wasn’t that it took me a long time to write because it took me around three months in total. The problem I had was this – my best friend ended up with a brain tumour. She passed away at the age of 14, and it hit me pretty hard. I lost my best friend, and the person I was initially writing the book for, and it just left me broken. I didn’t know how to continue writing it. When I met my current partner, he helped me to focus and got me back to working on the book and luckily, the writer’s block ended after two years. But, for those two years, all I was doing was writing articles for LLLR. There were no new chapters, no new fictions, no poems, nothing… Just articles and ranting.
That’s the difference between writer’s block and procrastination, one is something that can’t be helped, and the other is the action of avoiding something.
How can I avoid writer’s block?
The best way I’ve found when writer’s block hits your novel or fiction writing, I play scenes out in my head while listening to music. Find music that contains no lyrics. For me, I listen to Ben Foster, who is the leading composer for Torchwood. Another composer I listen to is Murray Gold, who is mostly known for his music produced for Doctor Who. The music can be funny, dramatic, sensual, and upsetting – any feeling you have, these two guys can support it with their music.
Another one that I listen to a lot is Kevin MacLeod – his music is free, so you can download it and listen to it as much as you like. I love his music.
Mood boarding has also helped me in the past, whether it’s a mood board of my drawings or a selection of stock images that I think connect to the story. Mood boarding can be really useful for publishing, too, as you can show a designer like me the board and it will help them get an idea of what you want for your book cover.
So, the next time you think you’re suffering from writer’s block, analyse the situation.
- Has something traumatic happened?
- Have you lost your muse?
- Do you have too many ideas?
- Are you uncertain about what way to go?
- Are you avoiding work?
- Are you doing something you don’t usually do?
- Are you giving up writing time to do something else, willingly?
- Do you get distracted from writing really quickly?
If you answered Yes to any of the first set of questions, it’s writer’s block. If you answered No to all of the first questions but answered Yes to any of the second questions – you’re probably procrastinating.
If you suffer from procrastination, find ways to motivate yourself.
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