Writing Crisis? 8 Reasons Why & How to Conquer Them: Part 1 of 2

A writer who isn’t writing is one writer too many.

The lack of function disrupts our balance, throws off our rhythm. It makes a writer awkward and insecure, like most people in high school.

Take me, for example.

My worst break up—in a history of bad ones—wasn’t with a boy, it was with my best friend.

We fought in the school hallways. We ignored each other in class. We didn’t pass notes or whisper secrets behind the teacher’s back.

No phone calls. No shopping malls. No giggling about guys.

I felt like a part of me was missing. And I cried and cried and cried.

Writing can be like that too. When the creative juices aren’t flowing, a small part of you is dying; a fish without water, fighting for air.

This isn’t writer’s block we’re talking about: Reasons. The reasons writers give the world—and even more significant—the reasons writers give themselves as to why they aren’t writing.

 

    Top 8 Reasons Writers Aren’t Writing

  1. For me, writing has become a burden rather than a joy.
  2. I have nothing to say.
  3. I don’t want to write/post/publish if it isn’t perfect.
  4. I’m not sure where to start.
  5. I don’t want to sound stupid or uninformed.
  6. I don’t have time to write.
  7. What is the point? Why does it matter if I write?
  8. I have too much drama/stress/change in my life to write.

 
How do you move past the reasons and start creating again? Try these eight writing resolutions.

Note: Each section includes reference articles, focus questions, and writing exercises. Show yourself some writer love: Take time to consider your responses and write down the answers—the honest, no-joke answers.

Remember this, dear writer, is all about you.

What happens when writers are at a loss for words? *shudder!* Here are the top 8 reasons writers are not writing--and writing exercises to conquer them!

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  1. For me, writing has become a burden rather than a joy.
  2. I have nothing to say.
  3. I don’t want to write/post/publish if it isn’t perfect.
  4. I’m not sure where to start.
  5. I don’t want to sound stupid or uninformed.
  6. I don’t have time to write.
  7. What is the point? Why does it matter if I write?
  8. I have too much drama/stress/change in my life to write.


 

Reason 1

For me, writing has become a burden rather than a joy.

There are days when #writing feels more like a burden or an addiction than a talent or a skill.Aaron Smith @AaronSmith377

Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.Lawrence Kasdan

Remember your first kiss: The awkward fumblings, the tingle of excitement, and the flush of infatuation?

After years in any relationship—writing included—the initial glow is often blurred by the everyday, real life replacing romance.

Go back to the beginning. Reread or rewrite your first short story or your first blog post.

Put aside deadlines and should-dos for thirty minutes or three days.

Take time to bring the joy of writing back into your life.

If you want to fall back in love with your work (and if you really truly still love it), the first step is to stop being such an asshole.
 
Extricate all the shoulds. Kill your expectations. Have a funeral for your quotas.
 
And breathe.Jonathan Mead

If you can remember why you started, then you will know why you must continue.Chris Burkmenn

 

Reason 1 Focus Question:

Write down your answer
Why did you start writing in the first place?

 

Writing Exercise 1

Write three reasons you love to write.

Write three things you’ve written and are proud to call yours.

Write three ways writing has enhanced your life.

Write three personal writing projects you are excited about starting.

Write three goals for your writing.

Review your answers and write.

 

Learn more about your purpose

On Finding Your Why…For Blogging & Life
What If Your Passion Becomes a Chore?
What To Do When You Fall Out of Love with Your Work
How to bring back the passion – 5 key conditions for fulfilling creative work
Imagine
 

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  1. For me, writing has become a burden rather than a joy.
  2. I have nothing to say.
  3. I don’t want to write/post/publish if it isn’t perfect.
  4. I’m not sure where to start.
  5. I don’t want to sound stupid or uninformed.
  6. I don’t have time to write.
  7. What is the point? Why does it matter if I write?
  8. I have too much drama/stress/change in my life to write.


 

Reason 2

I have nothing to say.

I feel like I have nothing new to say #writingWriting Is Life @writingislife

It was so safe and cozy studying #fiction and #reading. Now comes the hard part – sitting before a screen with nothing to say. #writingJuan Taylor @jtaylaj

Writing is storytelling, not necessarily invention.

How many times have you read a book where the bad guy almost gets away until the good guy saves the day? How many stories have you read where people fall-in-love, get killed, cheat, lie, kiss-and-make-up?

Where in the Giant Rule Book of Writing Requirements does it say you have to develop a story that has never been imagined or created in any shape or manner? It doesn’t.

What matters is you infuse the writing with your personality, your twist, your experience.

It is your voice, your version, and your alignment of words and descriptions that make a story unique.

Think of yourself as an eyewitness: How you see an event unfold will be different from the person standing next to you.

Tell the story in the best way you know how. That is your job as a writer.

The true writer has nothing to say. What counts is the way he says it.Alain Robbe-Grillet

I’ve always said, ‘I have nothing to say, only to add.’ And it’s with each addition that the writing gets done. The first draft of anything is really just a track.Gore Vidal

 

Reason 2 Focus Questions:

Write down your answers
What did you do yesterday? Last week? What would you do if zombies invaded? What do you like most about your cat? What does the neighbor do that annoys you so much? Who do you want to win the Super Bowl/World Series/Olympic Figure Skating? What about your favorite book entices you to read it again and again? How did you learn to ride a bike? What is on your bucket list? If you had three wishes, what would they be?

 

Writing Exercise 2

Write “I have something to say” fifty times. Live it. Breathe it. Believe it.

Go Yoda: Write “Something valuable I have to say” fifty times. Live it. Breathe it. Believe it.

Fill in the blank:
My favorite memory from childhood is _______________.

The biggest life lesson I learned so far is _________________.

______________ gave me advice I use every time I _______________.

The first time I saw my ____________, I thought ____________.

I can’t wait to tell my spouse/best friend/parent __________________.

The next time _____________ says _____________ to me, what I want to do is _____________. What I’ll really do is _______________.

My greatest fear in life is _________________. I’m going to conquer it by ____________.

My greatest joy in life is _______________. I’m going to celebrate it by _______________.

My favorite book is ______________. I can take the _____________ from the book and twist it around so ______________ happens.

My next story/blog post is about _______________.

Review your responses and write.

 

Learn more about writing your story

When You Have Nothing Unique to Say…
How to Write Smart Content on Days You’re Feeling Dumb & Distracted
20 Ways To Be Creative When You Don’t Feel Inspired

 

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  1. For me, writing has become a burden rather than a joy.
  2. I have nothing to say.
  3. I don’t want to write/post/publish if it isn’t perfect.
  4. I’m not sure where to start.
  5. I don’t want to sound stupid or uninformed.
  6. I don’t have time to write.
  7. What is the point? Why does it matter if I write?
  8. I have too much drama/stress/change in my life to write.


 

Reason 3

I don’t want to write/post/publish if it isn’t perfect.

Perfection is the enemy of creativity. #amwritingLA Writers' Lab @lawriterslab

There’s no such thing as perfect writing, just like there’s no such thing as perfect despair.Haruki Murakami

If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.Margaret Atwood

The fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection there is no story to tell.Ben Okri

Welcome to the human race.

Perfection is as elusive as unicorns and pots of gold. There is Adele’s singing voice, and there’s Nadia Comaneci’s famous “perfect 10” Olympic performance—otherwise, perfection is a no-show to life’s little party.

Yes, it is admirable to only publish your best efforts. Yes, you want to correct spelling, grammar, and those nasty dangling participles.

But—and this is the hard part—you have to let your baby go. It is scary. Believe me, in my world of OCD and order, I do so understand. This is where it almost hurts.

I am certain there are errors in this post. Places I could have tweaked to make it read better, my point clearer.

But—and this is the cool part—I know I did my best to offer concise information to benefit fellow writers.

Now it is time to let it go, mistakes and all; I live to write and publish another day.

Friendly reminder to #silence your #InnerEditor! #Write words first, make #perfection later. #NaNoWriMo #amwritingAlicia Byers @AByersAuthor

Focus on effort, not results. I know, I know. Your whole body is rebelling, isn’t it? It’s like I just gave you a trophy for participation. You’re thinking that mindset is for losers and new age hippies.
 
Sorry, writer. Whoever taught you that was soooo (sic) wrong. Because the people who focus on effort are the most resilient, self-mastered people. They try new things, and engage more fully. That’s why they succeed with ease.
 
So steal their technique. Take more pride in the seeds you plant than what you reap. That’s the key to success.Mandy Wallace

The problem is we are not fair graders when it comes to our own work. We are D givers, until someone says it’s good and that inhibits us from doing the work we could be doing if we didn’t grade ourselves. That’s why we need to stop seeking perfection and approval.Bryan Hutchinson

 

Reason 3 Focus Question:

Write down your answer
If your writing isn’t perfect, what is the worst that could happen?
 

Writing Exercise 3

Write a letter to your mom. Write an email to your best friend. Write a thank you card to your imaginary friend.

Send the items without reviewing or editing them first.

Wait by the phone for them to call and list every error in your message. Wait for a long, long time.

It doesn’t matter if you forgot to dot an “i” or used the word “carrot” three sentences in a row, they were happy to hear from you. You enjoyed writing to them.

Repeat often.

That was your baby step.

Take a big kid leap: Write a personal post for your blog or a short short story—not an entry to your portfolio, something fun and light.

Let the post sit overnight: edit once for grammar and spelling errors, once for content. Publish.

Repeat often.

 

Learn more about perfectionism

17 Signs Perfectionism Is Killing Your Writing Dreams
This Simple Writing Technique Will Help You Overcome the Inertia of Perfectionism
Are You Afraid to Tell the Truth?

 

    Continue Reading

  1. For me, writing has become a burden rather than a joy.
  2. I have nothing to say.
  3. I don’t want to write/post/publish if it isn’t perfect.
  4. I’m not sure where to start.
  5. I don’t want to sound stupid or uninformed.
  6. I don’t have time to write.
  7. What is the point? Why does it matter if I write?
  8. I have too much drama/stress/change in my life to write.


 

Reason 4

I’m not sure where to start.

I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.Steven Wright

Okay. Enough procrastination. I have to write. Trouble is, it’s a new WIP, there’s a blank page & I’m not sure where to start. #amwritingG. Wakeling @GWakelingWriter

Dear Fear: you can’t stop me from starting to write my story… even if I don’t know where to start #amwriting #writing #storytelling
Helen 2.0 @wirdbyrd

Monopoly makes it easy: The start is marked with “GO” and a big red arrow.

If only writing worked that way.

Instead, writers are expected to create those beginnings, fluff up the middle part, and come to a decisive end.

Yet, the blank page greets us; the cursor flashing over and over as if to chant “write. write. write!”, taunting us with the incessant rhythm of inertia.

You just want to punch the darn thing.

My solution? Start typing. It can be nonsense. And, much to my dismay, often is.

But I would rather type something than stare at nothing.

And you cannot edit a blank page.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to start at the beginning of the story when you sit down to write. Anything that has you rarin’ to go can work.Beth Hill

It is said that the hardest paragraph to write is the first paragraph of any book. So, don’t start there․‥We became writers because we were readers first. Our natural inclination is to write our novel like we read a book, from front to back, beginning to end, start to finish. That just isn’t always the correct or only way. We write in any order that gets us writing and keeps us writing.Alan Black

Where you start is where you start, and who says you have to start at the beginning? Your end could be where you begin. #writing #amwritingThe Storyprint @thestoryprint

 

Reason 4 Focus Questions:

Write down your answers
What is the inspiration for your story? What phrases/words/sentences about your story pop into your mind? What is the central focus? What are the characters like? What is your setting? What major event changes the direction of the story? How do you want it to end?

 

Writing Exercise 4

Write anything for ten minutes without stopping. Set a timer and type until you hear the buzzer.

Do not pass go and do not collect $200.

If you want to warm up first, write what you did yesterday, detail by dry detail: “I woke up at 6 am when the cat started petting my face. After throwing said cat, I stubbed my toe on the dresser and hopped the rest of the way to the bathroom…”

Do this until you start writing something out of sheer boredom or come up with something clever. Or until the timer goes off.

Keep your butt in the chair and your fingers moving on the keyboard until the time is up. If you cheat on this, you are only cheating yourself.

Go feed the cat. Change out of your pajamas and sit at your computer again. Set the timer for fifteen minutes. Write until the buzzer goes off.

Take a break and repeat, adding five minutes to each session.

Once you are ready to move on to the good stuff, write your character’s names, where they live, what they do, what their purpose is to the story. Then shift to the settings, the conflict, the turning point, etc., until you either are writing random parts of the story or you know where you want to begin.

 

Learn more about where to begin

You Gotta Start Somewhere
Feeling a Bit Lost? 4 Ways to Boost Productivity and Motivation on Your Blog
10 Writing Warm-Up Exercises
‘I can’t start my book’: You can in 7 simple steps

 

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  1. For me, writing has become a burden rather than a joy.
  2. I have nothing to say.
  3. I don’t want to write/post/publish if it isn’t perfect.
  4. I’m not sure where to start.
  5. I don’t want to sound stupid or uninformed.
  6. I don’t have time to write.
  7. What is the point? Why does it matter if I write?
  8. I have too much drama/stress/change in my life to write.


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