Fear of Writing – How to Overcome Writer’s Block

A blank page. The Fear of failure. What should I write about? How to start? Writing the first sentence and thinking: This sounds stupid! Deleting it all.

Everyone who recognizes him or herself in these thoughts and feelings, is aware of writing problems. Whether in school, at university or at work, the act of writing is challenging. It is typical to put a lot of pressure on yourself in the beginning. Many people think that the first draft of their text should be perfect. Every sentence is expected to sparkle like a diamond. Most of us are disappointed if our writing is more like a piece of coal–without any glitter. That is because writing is a personal matter. Most of us are afraid to disgrace oneself with(out) a text. These emotions are part of the writing process. When confronted with frustrating experiences, writers try to avoid writing. In this case, the apartment is often cleaner than usual, because we tend to deal with other tasks–we would do everything to just not do the writing. When the deadline looms, the pressure increases. At this point, the procrastination turns into a writer’s block and writing is no longer possible.

Good News: Writing is complex, but not complicated
In fact, writing is not an easy thing to do. Our brain is dealing with many different tasks at the same time. Various questions come into mind: What should I write about? How should I write it down? What sentences, phrases and words can be used? How does a good structure and argumentation look like? Is my writing clear and easy to understand for readers? All this questions are circulating in our head. These thoughts will begin to create a chaos and the result is kind of a cognitive overload. That is why it is better to proceed with the writing step-by-step, starting to break down the writing process in little pieces. This helps to transform the chaotic inner language–the act of thinking–in a communication to the world outside. But it is not necessary to have a written text in mind. On the contrary, writing is the best way to find ideas!

The key for good writing is a method called “freewriting”. It is also the best way to overcome writer’s block. A certain amount of practice is necessary, but it is very easy to try. You just need a few minutes time for your writing every day. No one would be expected to run a marathon without training in the first place. It is quite similar with writing. So, go on and shape your writing muscles!

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Start with a blank page (on paper or laptop) with the phrase “For me, writing is …”. Try to complete this sentence and continue writing for the next 10 minutes everything that comes into your mind, but give yourself this time limit. The most important thing is to turn off the voice of inner critic. Therefore, there are a few rules:

  • Pay no attention to what you are writing about, or the spelling, style, grammar, or punctuation. Focus only on the writing itself.
  • Just keep your writing hand(s) moving. Do not stop writing. Do not go back and read what you have already written.
  • Try to write quickly and fluently to get in this feeling of a creative flow.
  • If you are running out of ideas, keep writing anyway, whatever comes into your head.

Nobody is ever going to read your freewriting. It is just for yourself like a training, practice, and warmup. Writing can be creative and impulsive and there is no need to be afraid, because the ideas are just flowing. Write it down, because there is enough time to rewrite and edit it later on. So, get started right now!

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