Writing is difficult. It’s difficult for people who don’t like doing it, and even for those who do. It takes patience, accuracy and constant motivation.
With that said, it’s completely normal to hit a wall. Even the most prestigious authors experience writer’s block. Whether you’re writing content that’s short like a blog post, or material that is much longer and more complex, like a novel, there may come a time where you feel as if you’ve hit your plateau.
Writing plateaus convince us that we have gone as far as we could with our text. Typically, this occurs midway through a piece, or exactly when it has begun to take on life. Unfortunately, writing plateaus do not occur when we are finished. Instead, many times, they can cause a writer to give up.
Our minds can be our best friends or our greatest enemies. And when we hit a writing plateau, they are often the latter. This is why it’s so important to make the mental adjustments necessary for moving forward with your work.
It’s easy to feel frustrated when you have hit a wall in your writing, but don’t get discouraged. It won’t help. In fact, getting upset is only going to prolong your writer’s block.
Good writing comes from inspiration. It comes from the passion you feel about the subject. It happens when you are open-minded and wish to express yourself. Anger is a distraction. It is a buzz-kill, causing people to quit out of spite.
If you can accept your writing plateau, realize that you can still learn and grow from it, and then keep on writing, you are on the right track.
What is causing you to plateau? Maybe you haven’t brainstormed this part of the piece yet. Or maybe your creative mind is drained. You might just need to take a break.
Often times, writers get so consumed in what they’re working on that they can no longer appreciate it from an objective point of view.
Step away from it for a while. Come back with fresh eyes and an open mind. Read it from the beginning, as if you did not write it. See if you become inspired again.
All writers want to be brilliant at what they do. Let’s face it; we all want to be the next J.K. Rowling. But having expectations that are too high can be detrimental to our writing process. Looking too far into the future might stunt your creative ability in the present moment.
J.K. Rowling was sitting on a train, daydreaming about a wizard who didn’t know he was a wizard. She had no idea the potential that story might ensue. She had no expectations, just the desire to tell a story. Follow her example; just don’t copy it.
The same goes for expectations that are too low. You are your loudest motivator. Stay positive. Stay excited. Try not to compare yourself to other writers, or feel as if you’re not good enough. You are good enough, as long as you don’t quit.
Everyone has a different method of keeping their brain engaged and rolling. It might mean avoiding reality TV, or other trashy nonsense that essentially fries our brain cells and kills our creative cravings.
Or, it might just mean a change in your environment. If writing at home isn’t sparking any fresh ideas, try going to a quiet café. You might find that being amongst other people inspires the burst of energy you were lacking.
Writing is all about listening to your mind and believing that you have something important to say. If you have hit a plateau, don’t worry. Remember that it is normal and it is possible to push through it. Be patient with yourself and don’t be afraid to take a break. Give yourself a day, or a week, or even a month if you can afford it. Writing is a gift that not everyone is granted with. Embrace it, even when it gets difficult.
You’ll be writing again before you know it.
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by Hugh MacLeod
Ever wonder what it really takes to make a living as a creative person in today's complicated world?
MacLeod presents some witty keys for creative success, including "ignore everybody. Why should you "ignore everybody"?
Because, he writes, nobody else can tell you whether your idea is worthwhile. People can give you advice, but at the end of the day, it's your decision. The more original an idea, the less helpful the advice is going to be.
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