Writing blocks are a controversial subject. Is there such a thing as writer’s block? Many would say yes. Some would say no.
I’m not here to weigh in on that debate. I’m here for another reason.
I’ve found three things which do impact on writing and which will not get better simply by doing a bunch of extra writing exercises.
To get past these three problems you first have to know they exist and then work to fix them.
So what are they?
Uncomfortable Writing Spaces
We all get that antsy feeling from time to time when we don’t want to write. We’re sitting in front of the page and we shift in our seat, stretch our necks and sigh a bit.
Okay, sometimes that’s just procrastination. But sometimes there’s more to it.
So try sitting in your writing space and check the following:
- Is the temperature comfortable? Not too hot and not too cold? (Hey, Goldilocks had a point.)
- Is your chair the right height? Is your computer set up in the right place? Check these ergonomic guidelines.
- If you’re writing by hand, is your pen digging into your finger? Could you get yourself a more comfortable pen?
- Do you get cramps in your hands when you write? If you’re writing by hand, could you be gripping your pen too firmly? If you’re typing, could you use a wrist rest?
- Is there sufficient lighting? Could you do with a brighter bulb, a new lamp or perhaps different curtains?
All these things have an effect on your comfort and therefore the patience you have for your writing.
When was the last time you had your eyes tested?
Recently, I realised I’d been suffering from headaches, muscle tension and eye strain. I went to the optometrist and found out I needed new glasses.
Once my eyes (eventually!) adjusted to the new prescription, I was surprised by how much easier it was to sit in front of the computer and write for longer periods of time. My eyesight had slowly been affecting my quality of work without me even realising it.
As a writer, your eyes are an important part of your everyday tools. In the same way that a mechanic will maintain his tool kit, you need to make sure your eyes are functioning at tip-top efficiency.
There is always an emotional component to writing, especially when you are having trouble writing. I didn’t realise how much of an effect those emotional components had on writing until I read The Writer’s Portable Therapist by Rachael Ballon.
If you still find you’re having difficulty writing, it’s definitely worth a read. We writers pour our hearts onto the page, but if our emotions are working against us then writing becomes a whole lot harder!
Those emotions don’t just magically fix themselves up by you tying yourself to a chair and forcing the words out. Sometimes you have to spend some time examining yourself and understanding your inner nemesis before you can continue.
What about you? Have you found any of the above affecting your writing?