What is writer’s block? Why does it happen? And how does a writer overcome it?

If you spend a lot of time writing, you’ve probably encountered writer’s block.

Writer’s block happens when a writer just can’t get words on the page. There are many reasons why writer’s block occurs, from inposter syndrome to anxiety under deadline. Writer’s block can be disheartening, but it doesn’t have to keep you from doing the thing you love. 

Here is one foolproof method for overcoming writer’s block. 

How to Get Over Writer’s Block

If you’ve ever taken a course in psychology, and even you haven’t, you’ve likely heard of operant conditioning. It’s a way people can make habits. It’s a way to reinforce behaviors you want to see in yourself more often.

Sound like magic? It’s not.

Conditioning is science and there are hundreds of studies that show it works. Still with me? Let me take you through the steps.

Step 1: Who Do You Love?

Well, more like what do you love?

For some people, the answer to this might be coffee or that candle you burn only on the most special of occasions. Or maybe it’s a really, really long and hot shower. 

Whatever it is, you should love it enough to see it as a reward. It should be something you would cross mountains to get. Or, at the very least, something you’d pay a lot of money for if you had to.

Find something that motivates you to do things you don’t want to.

Got it? Now keep that thing you love nearby when you know you’re going to be writing and continue on to the next step.

Step 2: Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard

Anyone you ask about how to overcome writer’s block will tell you that you have to make writing a habit. Yet how do you make it a habit when typing even one word feels like a chore? 

If all you can do today is type one word, do it.

Now continue on to the next step.

Step 3: Treat Yourself

The whole point of operant conditioning is to reinforce the behaviors you want to make into habit. So if you want to make writing a habit, you need to reward yourself every time you write.

How do you reward youself? With that thing you love that you stocked your house with in Step 1. 

“But all I wrote today was one word!” You cry. “Does that even deserve rewarding?”

I repeat: Reward yourself.

Tomorrow, see if you can write two words. Reward yourself for that, too.

Never tell yourself that what you’re doing is too small– that’s a sure-fire way to spiral back into writer’s block. Treat yourself doesn’t just mean rewarding

Step 4: Rinse, Wash, Repeat

The best way to assure results is to continue rewarding yourself. Even when you can sit down and write for hours at a time, though, don’t forget that slice of pie after you finish!

Continuing to reinforce your writing behaviors will help you overcome writer’s block and keep it away for good.

So there you have it. Leave a comment and let me know your method for getting over writer’s block. Happy writing!


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