If you know me at all, you know I don’t believe in “writer’s block.” It’s just a catch-all phrase we use to talk about the various reasons we’re struggling with our writing, and one of the most common things I see aspiring authors struggle with is overwhelm, which makes perfect sense to me.
When faced with a seemingly insurmountable task of transforming thoughts into words, the mind can become cluttered, ideas can elude grasp, and the blank page can morph into an intimidating void.
Why We Face Feelings of Overwhelm
One common source of this overwhelm is the self-imposed burden of perfectionism. Aspiring authors often strive to produce flawless prose, meticulously crafted sentences, and captivating narratives right from the start. The weight of these expectations can be paralyzing, leaving writers unable to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. The fear of producing anything less than a masterpiece becomes a roadblock to progress.
Additionally, the vastness of the creative landscape can be overwhelming. The limitless possibilities of storytelling, the sheer volume of existing works, and the constant comparison to accomplished authors can be daunting. The more writers delve into the world of literature, the more they may feel a sense of insignificance or a daunting realization of how much they have left to learn and achieve.
Find a More Manageable Amount of Whelm
First and foremost, it is crucial to embrace imperfection. Writing is an iterative process, and the first draft is rarely a flawless masterpiece. Allowing oneself to write imperfectly, with the understanding that revision and refinement will follow, is liberating. Granting permission to make mistakes opens up the creative flow and alleviates the fear of failure.
Setting realistic goals and establishing a writing routine can also help mitigate overwhelm. Breaking down the writing process into manageable tasks and allocating dedicated time for writing creates structure and prevents the feeling of being lost in a vast expanse of possibilities. Whether it’s a daily word count, a specific writing session duration, or a chapter outline, having tangible objectives brings focus and direction to the creative endeavor.
Seeking support and connection with fellow writers can be invaluable. Joining writing groups (like the one I lead every Wednesday), attending workshops, or participating in critique circles can provide a sense of community and encouragement. Sharing experiences, discussing challenges, and receiving constructive feedback from peers who understand the struggles of the craft can help aspiring authors overcome the isolating nature of writer’s block.
Furthermore, engaging in activities that promote relaxation and rejuvenation can combat overwhelm. Taking breaks, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and pursuing other creative outlets can replenish mental energy and stimulate fresh ideas. Stepping away from the work momentarily allows the mind to breathe, gain perspective, and return with renewed vigor.
Lastly, it’s essential for aspiring authors to remember their passion and purpose for writing. Reconnecting with the initial spark that ignited your desire to tell stories can reinvigorate the creative spirit. Reminding yourself of the impact literature has had on your life and the potential impact your own work can have on others can reignite the motivation to push through the barriers of overwhelm.
Keep heart and remember that you are not alone. If you feel like you could use a little support (the kind of support that scrolling the internet isn’t quite providing) book a time to chat with me about my various coaching programs. If my services aren’t a good fit for where you’re at with your writing, I will happily point you toward other resources.