Thanks to Herman Lategan for the following tips on writer’s block:)

  • Writer’s Block is simply a cognitive distortion based on unfounded fear of failure and being caught out as incompetent. It’s in your own mind, a self-constructed inhibitor of productivity. You constructed it, you can deconstruct it. Remember, simply feeling that you’re not a good writer, doesn’t reflect the reality. Feelings aren’t facts.
  • Perfectionism is a killer. No piece of writing, or any piece of art, or music, photograph, film or play, can be perfect. Nothing in life is perfect. Don’t get it right, get it written. Once it’s written, you can re-write and edit. A famous editor once said: “I don’t want it perfect, I want it Monday.” With other words, get it done, stick to a deadline and stop fretting. PS. This doesn’t apply to getting the facts right. Facts, spelling, grammar should be triple checked.
  • Facebook, Twitter, Email and Internet surfing are the enemies of time. Remember: Planning to write isn’t writing. Doris Lessing said: “At some point I must stop talking about writing and just do it. Those ideal conditions: Solitude, time, money, freedom from care, would never happen.”
  • Don’t compare yourself to other writers. You’ll suffer from self-inflicted performance anxiety and you’ll freeze. By all means, learn from others, but develop your own voice. Nobody can write the way YOU can write, because nobody like you exists. Remember, metaphorically, you might not be able to bake a cake, but you might be able to make a great fridge-cake.
  • Play around with words, have fun, invent new ways of painting pictures with words and telling riveting stories. Athol Fugard once wrote: “Free yourself from labour and use more delight.”
  • Reject rejection. Reject your inner critic, or the Hitler on your shoulder that tells you you’re incompetent. Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. You don’t need other people’s approval to be successful. By all means learn from criticism, but don’t be immobilised and crushed by it. Ban your internal and external critics.
  • “The art of writing is rewriting.” Margaret Atwood.
  • Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.
  • Finally, writers must be as disciplined as athletes, and repeated binge usage of alcohol or drugs impair the creative process. This isn’t moralising: Simple facts. And like an athlete, the more you practice, the luckier you’ll get.
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