Trying to write a story while it’s still too fresh in your mind can be nearly impossible. If you’ve been following me for any length of time you know I don’t believe in writer’s block, but this whole “it’s too fresh” thing can often make a writer feel like there’s something wrong with them. Trust me, there’s not. Overthinking or overloading your creative process is easy to do when you’re writing about something without enough distance.
There are a few reasons why this happens:
- Lack of perspective: When an idea or experience is still fresh in your mind, you may find it challenging to gain the necessary objectivity to explore it fully. Writing a story requires a certain level of reflection and analysis, which can be hindered if you are too close to the subject matter. It’s like trying to examine a painting from an inch away—you won’t be able to see the full picture.
- Mental clutter: Your mind may be filled with a flood of vivid images, emotions, and details related to the experience. This influx of information can overwhelm your creative process, making it difficult to organize your thoughts and translate them into a coherent narrative. It’s like trying to untangle a tangled knot of thoughts.
- Pressure to capture everything: When an experience is fresh, there is often a subconscious desire to capture every detail accurately and vividly in your writing. This pressure to do justice to the experience can create a performance anxiety that inhibits your creative flow. You may feel compelled to find the perfect words or phrases, which can lead to self-censorship and a fear of making mistakes.
- Emotional intensity: Fresh experiences, particularly those that are emotionally charged, can consume a significant amount of mental and emotional energy. Writing a story requires creativity, focus, and a degree of detachment, which can be challenging when you are still processing intense emotions. The emotional weight of the experience can distract you from the creative process, resulting in writer’s block.
To overcome this form of “writer’s block,” it’s often beneficial to allow some time for the experience to settle and for your mind to gain perspective. This could be a few hours, weeks, months or even years, depending on the intensity of the experience.
During this time, you can engage in activities that help you relax, reflect, and gain distance from the raw emotions. You might try journaling. Or maybe therapy (seriously – I think everyone should have a therapist).
Once you have achieved a certain level of detachment and clarity, you can return to the story with a fresh perspective and a clearer mind. At that point, the story will be much more clear in your mind and you will very likely find that writing it is considerably easier.