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Have there been times when you just sit motionless, frozen, unable to write? Have you ever asked yourself ‘How do I start my story?’ ‘How do I develop it?’ ‘How do I move my story forward?’ That driving force leading you to nowhere is called a writer’s block.
This post is definitely not going to talk about writer’s block. What it will talk about is writing block. Now you may wonder, what is the difference between the two?
Well, simply put, a writer’s block happens when the writer is blocked. Writing block happens when the writing is blocked.
Allow me to explain further. You sit down to write. You’re all filled up with motivation and words. You sit looking at a blank page. And the blank page stares back at you. That’s writer’s block. You have the motivation and the words to write something, anything, but nothing comes out. You have no story to exhibit, no feeling to express.
Now, imagine a different scenario. You’re way too deep in your imagination. You can see or hear or what-you-normally-do scenes. A story is developing in your mind. Characters meet, world’s collide, everything’s magical. You can feel the rush of the story, the thrill. And then you stare at a blank page. The blank page stares back at you. The scenes slowly fade from memory. That’s writing block. You have a story to tell, feelings to exhibit. And absolutely no idea how to do it.
What is the reason for this? When it comes to writing blocks, the language is the primary reason for many. However, I asked around to know more about the various other reasons for this sort of block.
From the answers that I received, I made a list of the top 3 most common reasons for wiriting block.
1. PROPER ENGLISH KNOWLEDGE:
REASON: A lack of proper english knowledge is undoubtedly one of the most common writing blocks out there. You know the story. You know what happens. You want to pen it all down. And then, it hits you —the complexity of the english language that has even the greatest personas of english literature perplexed.
CURE: Firstly, you need to figure out ‘Why english? Why not any other language?’ Most of us think that english is the language; that books in english are appreciated and read more, by most people. Let me shatter that illusion based on my own personal experience: that is not all true.
Most of us also think that to write stories, we to have english running in our blood. That is also not at all true. Especially if you’re writing in India. In India, books of regional languages have a much wider audience than the ones written in english. They sell better than the english novels. And I’m honestly kind of envious of you. You get to write in your mother tongue. It could be Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, absolutely any language that you’re comfortable with. The core advantage of this is, you’ll find people to read your work much more easily.
Think about it. Would you rather sit through 40 pages of an english story or 400 pages of a story written in your language? You may think that it’s an embarrassment to write in your language. But, actually, many people prefer reading the language that they speak. So embrace your language and start welcoming the change.
In case your writing skills are just as bad in both english and your local language, then start trying both out. Practice writing exercises in both the languages. And see which language you’re able to write better (faster or more easily) in.
(Bonus: For weekly writing prompts, connect with us on Instagram @writerspuram01)
KEY TAKEAWAY: Figure out ‘Why English? Why not any other language?’
2. GRAMMATICAL ERRORS:
REASON: Running along the same stream as our previous point is ‘grammatical errors’. Grammar is undoubtedly one of the top 3 reasons when it comes to writing blocks. Whenever you write anything, you are suddenly aware of what you write and how you present it. The sentences need to sound proper. And for the sentences to sound proper, for your writing to look crisp, you feel that you need to know proper grammar. And you strain and focus on your sentences, looking at them through a magnifying glass. ‘Should I put an ‘if’ or a ‘when’ there?’ ‘Should this phrasal verb be there or not?’ ”From there’ or ’till there’?’ Questions like these definitely trouble you everytime you sit to write. Questions like these are unavoidable when you sit to write. And questions like these make it difficult for you to write.
CURE: The most effective way to fight the Grammar Monster is by letting it be whenever you write. Let us do an exercise now. Pick up a book closest to you (any book). Look at it carefully. Open it to a random page. Go through that page carefully. Is it perfect? Magical? Awesome? Now, let a secret sink in. That perfectly magical book has gone through multiple revisions. That book, that page, was not written that way. When those sentences were penned down initially, they would have had a lot of mistakes. Then how is it perfect? It is perfect because it was worked upon, day in and day out. No one’s first copy, first draft, comes out perfect. It always comes out flawed and grammar-less.
When the story comes to you, don’t shut the door in its face. Let it all out, in bursts of imperfection. Let it all out in gigantic waves of emotion. Just let it all out.
What matters when you sit down to write is the feel and the flow of the story. So feel the story and let it flow.
Don’t let the Grammar Monster question you when you sit down to write. Ignore him and focus on your story. Once you’ve let it all flow out, sit back and take deep breaths. Work on that piece after a much needed break. Mould it so many, many times that the words, the sentences, are no longer what you had started out with.
When working on your rough draft, let the Grammar Monster question you. Look up your queries related to grammar online. You can use Grammarly. Or ask your family, friends or mentors.
(Bonus: You can connect with us on Instagram @writerspuram01 for grammar related doubts)
KEY TAKEAWAY: Let the Grammar Monster exist in your first draft.
3. THE CLIMAX OF THE STORY:
REASON: So, you somehow managed to piece it all together; the story, the outline, the characters. It’s an entertaining and exciting journey. You’ve written so much. You’ve worked through the start and the middle. Congratulations. Now, all of a sudden, the most feared of all tasks is in front of you. It was inevitable. It had to come to this: the ending of the story. This block is common to all writers. Even published authors face this crisis. This may seem more of a writer’s block than a writing block. But, 8 times out of 10, you have so many, many different possibilities and you don’t know which one to chose. You become aware of the many ways you can end your story and it throws you into confusion. And then the block happens. You get frustrated and you vow to never write again (because you’ve spent so much time and energy on your story only for it to come to this).
CURE: Woah! Hold yourself there! I have a cure for this block: know your genre. When setting out to write that first page of that first line, be clear on your genre. You can choose romance, comedy, adventure, horror, your choice. Knowing the genre helps with knowing the ending. If you’re writing a romance novel, the ending should be related to that genre. Do the characters acheive their romance? Or do they not? The answer to that would be your ending. Now, imagine your story is fully about a couple falling in love and all of a sudden you end it with a demon possessing a main character. That would be totally disturbing to your readers because that is not what they signed up for when they picked up your book. If your plan was to make it a romance-horror novel, then you need to establish it in the middle of the story, as it progresses to the climax.
(Bonus: Writers struggling to find your genre, feel free to connect with us on Instagram @writerspuram01)
KEY TAKEAWAY: Know your genre.
Did we get it right? Let us know what you think in the comments below.