Be on the alert for writer’s block!

Symptoms include: Blank… Nothing is written on the page!

If you or someone you know have experienced these symptoms, please read this blog.

It’s like the phantom lurking in the dark; the villain in the superhero movie plotting his next diabolical scheme. It’s that sense of having a stalker, watching your every move, knowing when best to strike. It’s… It’s… Oh no, I sense its presence ever so near. It’s writer’s block! At this time, you should be saying, “Dun, dun, dun!”

I will equate this undesirable phenomenon to be like a dragon. Dragons in fairytales are ruthless and would terrorize the people. Surprisingly, they would come at any time that pleased them, setting villages ablaze and in one puff, burn all that people had worked so hard to accomplish. It would then be the knight that would go on a quest and slay the dragon to become the hero of the story.

In sticking to this metaphorical concept of writer’s block being a dragon, let’s examine some similarities. Dragons are portrayed to be mythical reptiles. They have scales, claws, and those eyes: creepy. As writer’s block lurks like a dragon, its scales reflect your worst thoughts. On some scales, you may see: “You’re not good enough,” “Your work is garbage,” and even, “Why are you even writing?” Those creepy eyes leering at you drive so much fear in you and cements the self-doubt you wanted to suppress. Then, the hot fiery breath stops you in your tracks, and it destroys your inner core and strength as a writer.

So, you are now faced with this beast. Interestingly enough, at times, you may know it is coming as you hear its roar and at times, it creeps up on you unawares. Like now. Let’s not discuss how long it took for me to even write this sentence. Did I tell you what this dragon feeds on? It feeds on your need for perfectionism, your desire to improve on your previous work and/or the doubts about your competence. It also strives in environments where you are not relaxed and free enough to think creatively.

You scream (probably internally; for me, I scream out loud) and you seek that “knight in shining armor” to come and rescue you from this creature. News flash: sometimes the “knight” doesn’t come, and you have to save yourself. You may be wondering how you can overcome writer’s block. There are many possibilities but I will share with you the ones that actually work for me. These are:

  1. I walk away from the task. It is okay to say, “Hey, Mr. Dragon, could you give me a few?” Hey, it’s a fairytale, so it is possible! Don’t judge me. When you walk away (literally and figuratively), you remove yourself from the pressure to write. So, I go and do something else. I love watching music videos on YouTube. These strangely help me in letting my creative juices flow. Most times when you return, you have a fresh perspective of how to tackle the task. So, walk away and do something that you love.
  2. Talk to someone. Sometimes the conversation is about the writing project or something else. I can attest that this works. I usually have a quick chat with my mom, lamenting my failure and she just says, “Sheryl, you can do this.” That’s all it takes. She reaffirms what I believe and the dragon gets a big blow and flees. If he doesn’t, my armor is strengthened and I am able to shield myself from the dragon’s breath. Maybe you need more than that. But give that chat a chance.

Again, these are my ways. There are many other options that other writers have used. I wonder what Yushima Cherry (Picking up the Pieces to 100 Broken Promises), Robert Ellis (Kisuhus Kamkamoss and the White Warrior), and Kristen Morgen (Behind the Glass) did to overcome writer’s block. I am sure if you message any one of them on their social media accounts (check the previous blog post for details), they will tell you about the struggles they had. Despite any writer’s block that they have experienced, they were still able to create books that were worthy of being published by Tamarind Hill Press and worthy of your read. If you have overcome that writer’s block or whenever you do, we are still looking forward to publishing your nonfiction titles.

Tell me: how do you slay your dragon?