Writer’s Block vs. Writer’s Resistance

Rarely do I suffer from writer’s block.

But this past weekend, I was self-diagnosed with an often extreme case of writer’s resistance.

Let me explain the difference between the two and how to overcome them.

This past weekend, I went to Comicon (so fun!) and listened to a panel of fellow authors. Many of the writing workshops were about overcoming Writer’s Block. The advise given was that when someone experiences writer’s block, it is usually your subconscious mind telling you that something within the story is not working.

*Go for a walk, clear your head, and give it a rest. Even meditate. By clearing our minds of all the chatter, whether it be from your characters or the internal critic, we become more open minded. And an open mind is a more imaginative mind.

*Write and think about the troublesome scene just before bed. Our amazing subconscious minds are problem solving for us, and while we sleep, answers to questions tend to work themselves out. I don’t know how many times I have woken upon in the morning with everything figured out. I even keep paper beside my bed to jot down ideas in the middle of the night.

*Eliminate distractions. Unplug! Seriously turn off the phone and while you are writing, don’t have the internet on. I have become very adamant about this because, if there is a text or some other distraction, I’ve found that it’s an hour later before my story is flowing out of me again.

*Clean your workspace. This especially works for artists. I have an art room/office space. When it is cluttered, my mind is cluttered and it is hard for me to concentrate.

*Get inspired by other avenues of the creative process. Last weekend I went to a concert and something about the music and the atmosphere made my fingers itch to hurry home and write out a scene that I had been dreading earlier. Stroll through an art museum, go to a good movie, or buy a new music album.

*Although some authors don’t agree with me, I would say work on something else. The most impenetrable case of writers block that came to me, happened because of a rejection that was disheartening. I didn’t want to write, in fact, I doubted the whole process and shelfed that project for a long time. Another story began to bud and excitement came to me in small bursts. A new voice, a new story, and fresh characters! It was like I was meeting brand new friends. In turn, my excitement leaked into the writer’s block of my other work. Soon, the flood gates opened and I was ready to tackle it again.

Writer’s resistance on the other hand is something that plagues me, and probably always will. I find excuses to do other things instead of writing, especially when I am under pressure to edit or revise. When under a deadline, I suddenly decide to work on a DIY project, like the time I upscaled my lamps.

photo-18

Or I’ll make a weird wreath out of Atlas pages.

photo-17

Or I’ll start a new painting.

photo-20

Or paint a concrete planter turquoise.

photo-21

Or… well, the list goes on.

The thing is, I am much more then an author. We all are much more than one thing. To me, writer’s resistance is not bad. My subconscious mind is only telling me that I’ve done enough and balance must be found. I tend to lose myself in my writing and sometimes it can be hard to surface.

Here are some things that help with writer’s resistance.

*Have a friend or someone you need to answer to. Maybe time each other or do a competition to see how many words you can write in an hour, or a day, or a week, or a month (Nanowrimo).

*Stick to a schedule. Set aside a time that you can be in solitude and write.

As you can see, I don’t have many answers about writer’s resistance. It is important to listen to the cycles of our creative process. This week I haven’t been writing at all, but I have done five paintings and taught ten kids how to play guitar. Next week is another week and I am ready to tackle my stories head on again.

What are some ways you have overcome writer’s block or writer’s resistance? I’d love to hear about them.

-Tara

3 thoughts on “Writer’s Block vs. Writer’s Resistance

  1. Like you, I have many other creative outlets, too. I hadn’t, until now, given them the wonderful name of writer’s resistance. It’s so true. For me it seems writer’s block and writer’s resistance go hand in hand because I find when I get writer’s block, my writer’s resistance kicks in.
    “Since I can’t figure out what my character needs to do next, I’ll make a pair of earrings, I’ll bake cookies for my family, I’ll sew some flannel pajamas for my daughter…”

    Thanks for this great post! And I love the turquoise concrete planter!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s