Writer’s Block – a coaching perspective

Writer's Block

As a writer, I am no stranger to writer’s block…. and no, this would not be an appropriate moment to ask me how far away the release of my next book is… awkward.  But as a coach I want to question what writer’s block actually is.

We seem to accept it as the norm.  Something that we try to remedy with a walk outside or a nice hot shower, rather like a hangover.  And perhaps in some ways the two are similar – they both leave us with a kind of brain fog.

I think that writer’s block is actually just block, the end.  Perhaps it is showing itself in your attempts at writing, but it’s not always about that.  It could be coming from anywhere in your world.

You know that kind of stuckness that we get when we feel like we should be doing one thing, but our heart says another.  Like when we work in the wrong job, but force ourselves to persevere because that’s what we are supposed to do, like good grown ups.  Or when we are in the wrong relationship, but feel morally obligated to stay and try harder when we really want to move on.

Stuckness.  Yes, I like that.  So how do we get past stuckness?  Well, it usually gets a bit messier before it gets better.  If you have a block then it’s time to do some hard work and have an honest check in with yourself.

What have you been avoiding?
Is there something troubling you quietly that you have been ignoring in the spirit of ‘buckling down and getting on with things’?  This is a classic, and one I’m famous for.  Although you might not expect it to directly affect your writing, it could be fogging up your brain and having a knock on effect.

Are you being authentic?
When you write, who are you writing for?  Are you writing in your own voice, or trying to please somebody else?  I know that I find it harder to write when it’s not for my own books or blog, as I worry about misrepresenting the company I am writing for by using the wrong tone.  I find it so much easier to write for my own crowd (as I don’t worry about offending you lot).  A way to overcome this is to be open with the editor you are writing for – just tell them your concerns!  You can’t read their mind, so just ask if they like your tone, or how they would like it to change, if at all.

What are you afraid of?
Okay, so I borrowed this coaching question from my own coach, Laure (check her out).  She has ninja-coached me with this question more than once, and it’s a great way to open the conversation up.  So why not try asking yourself the same question?  You might get a surprising answer, and then you will have something interesting to blog about too.  Bonus!

And finally, reward yourself!
Coaches aren’t all about asking you tough questions and making you sweat.  We want you to celebrate your successes too.  When you do write something, even if it’s not ‘perfect’, please do find a way to reward yourself.

Now go get ’em, tiger!

An Elective Orphan x

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