Threading the Web – The Words We Use to Describe – “Writers Block”

Words are powerful things. Knowing this and making conscious choices of the words we use can change things around.

Let’s think about this one. “Writers block”

Merriam Webster’s definition of writers block as:

the problem of not being able to think of something to write about or not being able to finish writing a story, poem, etc.

Long ago, before I become familiar with conscious language choices, I used the term “writers block” every time this problem raised its head. Before I learned how to banish it.

Let’s think for a minute about the word block and the images it brings up. Block is solid, heavy, you can’t move through it, maybe you can’t see through it, it stands in your way.

And maybe that is how it feels to you when you are facing it.

Now let’s play the “what if” game for a minute.

What if it wasn’t impossible to move through it?

We tend to believe the things we tell ourselves, especially if we tell ourselves the same thing or a variation often enough.

What if you used a different word, one that works better for you?

You will never hear me use the phrase “writers block” when describing myself and my writing. You might hear me say I am taking a writers break. Or I am taking a long lunch break. This break could be as short as a half an hour or as long as a month. It’s whatever I chose it to be.

This is where things begin to change, to become empowering instead of limiting.

Once upon a time I had a beautiful golden retriever named Trixie. She sat by my side when I wrote and she would nudge me when it was time for lunch and then we’d eat and play for a bit beforeI went back to work on my book. She lived to be fourteen. After she passed I went into what I then called a six month “writers block” It was difficult. It was painful. I simply could not write. I would hear the jingle of her tags on her collar and I would get choked up. I couldn’t face the blank page of my computer screen without her.

Then one day I decided I’d had enough. I got angry at that “writers block” and decided I was going to conquer it, it was not going to conquer me. So I took out a yellow legal pad and pen, stepped away from my computer and forced myself to write. The first pages were all about how frustrated I was about being unable to write. I wrote in every room in the house and then I went outside and wrote on the picnic table. By doing this I broke the writers block that I had allowed to develop.

I had learned that the only way out was to write my way through it.

Today I no longer believe in having “writers block” and I know how to write my way though almost anything. It is a good practice to get into. It will make you a stronger writer.

Are you telling yourself you have writers block?

Trying changing what you tell yourself, try writing through it and see what happens.


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