Sometimes, I don’t feel like writing.
There, I’ve come out and said it.
I love writing, but sometimes the words just don’t come to me. This is a feeling that many writers are familiar with. You open a blank Word document and try to make the words appear via prayer, telepathy, begging, and maybe even a virgin sacrifice. It never works. No matter how many dark forces you summon into your writing area, the words never come and you’re left feeling frustrated. What if I told you that the way to defeat this dastardly block in your writing was as simple as sitting in a drive thru and ordering chicken nuggets?
What Makes Writer’s Block so Hard to Overcome?
There are two big reasons why writer’s block feels like a huge, unstoppable strain on your creativity.
- The pressure of writing everyday
- The fact that we lump “writer’s block” into one category when there are several different kinds of blockage
The phrase “write everyday” feels like a writer’s gospel, especially in this day and age of blogging and social media. “Stephen King (in ‘On Writing’) tells fiction writers to aim for a target of 1,000 words a day, six days a week,” says Ali Hale of DailyWritingTips. “Julia Cameron’s bestselling book ‘The Artist’s Way’ has popularised the idea of ‘the morning pages’ – writing three pages in your journal when you wake up.” There are a plethora of articles that go into why writing daily is a good idea and how to go about completing that task. Seriously, do a Google search, you’ll be reading for days.
While these pages are meant to be helpful I feel that they can create a lot of pressure. What if you have a day where you don’t have time to write, or you feel yourself suffering from writer’s block? Does that mean you’ve failed somehow? Are you, somehow, less of a writer if you can’t do it daily? And, while we’re on the subject, how much should you write per day? Everyone has a different answer. Stephen King says 1,000 words while Julia Cameron says three pages.
These concerns just add to the frustrating tingle of writer’s block, which, according to Charlie Jane Anders via io9, we don’t even categorize correctly. We lump writer’s block into one category when, in reality, there are several different kinds of writer’s block. “Part of why Writer’s Block sounds so dreadful and insurmountable is the fact that nobody ever takes it apart. People lump several different types of creative problems into one broad category. In fact, there’s no such thing as ‘Writer’s Block,’ and treating a broad range of creative slowdowns as a single ailment just creates something monolithic and huge. Each type of creative slowdown has a different cause — and thus, a different solution.” Anders then goes into 10 different kinds of writer’s block, each one different and each one with a different solution. For example: not having an idea at all is different from having several ideas but not being able to commit to any of them.
How to Overcome That Block
Simple. Nuggets. McDonalds chicken nuggets, in particular. They’re crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and come with a variety of delicious sauces.
Once I started writing full-time, I would have moments of frustration when it came to writing. Sure, I wanted to try my best to write every day, but there were (and still are) things that prevented me from reaching my goal. So the aggravation would set in, and when my partner came home from work, she’d see the exasperated look on my face.
That’s when she made the brilliant suggestion I live by now: do you want to go out and get chicken nuggets?
It seems rather anti-climactic that something so frustrating can be beaten by a box of fried chicken bits, but it’s true. That break was exactly what I needed and soon after the chicken nugget trip I was writing again. However, some would say that simply taking a break isn’t enough. Henneke Duistermaat wrote a rather insightful article called, “27 Wacky Ways to Beat Writer’s Block.” In it she addresses the issue at hand – writer’s block – and goes onto say, “You need to have some fun. Not take a break, not go for walk, not get some sleep. All of that is fine and good for a simple case of boredom, but the real cause of writer’s block is you’re holding on too tight. You need to loosen up. You need to go a little crazy. You need to let the goofy side of you out for a little while and get your creative juices flowing again.” She goes on to suggest a number of fun things, from cursing like a sailor to taking a short trip.
Or, in my case, going out and grabbing a box of chicken nuggets, fries, and a Sprite.