This is for young writers who find themselves on a creative slowdown from time to time. You can pick up a topic you think you are knowledgeable about only to find yourself without so much to say after 200 words. And no, it is not because you are a man of few words. It is because you are stuck in the dread zone called a writer’s block.
Most writers fear being at that place and they would rather clone other writers’ articles than give themselves time to regenerate new ideas or explore new topics. A writer’s block is like a mental gap, it means you lack enough information on a subject. If you ever counter someone with a mental blockage on some things, you can go around arguing about a very simple thing. If only that person can open up their mind to new information, they would be better off.
These are some of the reasons you encounter a writer’s block;
You pick up on topics you are not knowledgeable on
This is like arguing about things you have no idea about. You will run out of points sooner or later.
If you lack the raw facts on a topic, it will be hard going deep on it when writing. Your words will lack depth and length. If you usually write about health and you transition into dating, you might find yourself writing common knowledge as opposed to expertise. There are very few writers who know what they are saying when it comes to relationship topics. I don’t even read most dating blogs because the writers don’t know what they are saying. Be selective where you consume information on serious topics like dating, you can believe fallacies and try applying them to your dating life. You will be doomed. One quality of a great reader is that he chooses credible sources of information. Look at that author’s credentials before applying what he is saying, does he have a Ph.D. in Psychology? Or is he a good analyst of the social arts?
You write on only one topic
This is the cousin to the above point. If I write humor, it doesn’t mean I can’t research and write on topics like the Roman Empire. I am not so much of a history reader but I should study more history for reference points. I might want to explain a point and give examples of a funny historical event. The study of the past helps us understand the present and plan for the future. The reason I chose to write about humor is that it was too easy for me.
I didn’t want to write complicated things like nutrition or fashion or health. With humor, I can just observe and make funny punchlines. And then even if it is wrong, I can excuse myself that it was just a joke. Jokes don’t have to make sense. They just have to be funny. However, there are intelligent comedians like Katt Williams and Dave Chappelle.
Telling you to write on many topics means you read more. You were always told to read everything including nothing. No knowledge is wasted. I am a lazy reader but I push myself to read all the junks and good information on the internet; especially when I was young, I remember using my first smartphone to subscribe to all kinds of newsletters. Nowadays, I chose what I consume online. Everyone online has advice on something and if you are not selective, you will end up with misinformation which will brainwash you. This is why some strict governments restrict the number of search engine results.
However, reading and writing are two different things that are correlated. I am here talking about writer’s block and at the same time I am talking about reading a lot. This is because a good writer is a massive reader. I read some writers’ work and I can see the richness in their vocabulary. It just shows how good they have done a job in accumulating knowledge and even applying that knowledge over the years, although if you want to be a good writer, you just have to write a lot. They say at least 2,000 words each day. Don’t write 1,000-word articles like mine if you are trying to get good. I can tell that this is going to be longer than 1,000 words. I am on a roll here.
You don’t take time on a topic you are writing
I suspect you are not on a writer’s block at times, you might just be impatient. Well written pieces of work sometimes take time. As I am writing this, I started at around 11 am…wrote it for an hour. Took a break, went out looking for tea scones, came back…did a 4 o’clock tea then continued. If I am to reach 700 words and go blank, I can shelve it and maybe complete writing it 3 days later. Serious writers can spend a week on an article. I know writers who research for a month before they complete a piece of work and publish it. Just think of how you used to do your college assignment.
The lecturer would give you a week or two to go find information about it and do a write-up of your findings. But of course students will write it two days to the deadline.
But let me point out that some of the best articles you will ever write are not researched for a week; they are written with emotions in one sitting. You picked up on a topic and the ideas kept flowing, and you just kept writing with excitement…those will be the best ones. They will surprise you how fast they can go viral.
As much as research is good, I don’t like having to plan to write something. I like surprising myself. I want to pick up a topic and get it done in one hour, efficiency is something you only attain with years of writing experience and good speed on the keyboard and a lot of reading. Don’t ever run out of colorful words to use. They keep your audience reading. It is the beautiful words that will make your writings juicy. All these coupled with sentence variety will keep you going.
You write for yourself
Are you empathetic as a writer? If you are not, you will run into a writer’s block or you will be communicating to yourself and not the masses. Again, you might be writing for everybody and not narrowing down to a specific audience who need your information. Whom are you writing for? People are not interested in your personal stories unless they help in explaining a point. People read things asking what’s there for me? Philosophically human beings are considered selfish by nature and will look out for themselves first before others. There are only a handful of people who will step back for their brother or sister.
There is so much people want that if you are to instead write for them, you will have so much to put on paper. In fact, you will never know what a writer’s block even means. That’s why I said in the beginning that you might be concentrating on just one topic. If you write only about health because that’s what you love, there are health readers who also like sports, so on some days, you can write sports topics to them. It is thus great to cover a wide scope with your writing.
Your writings are too long
You don’t need a 4,000-word article unless you really want to drive a point home. Why can’t you just write a book instead? I have read 10,000-word articles and I was just thinking all along that this guy is word crazy. If you are out to write a 5,000-word article, then as I said before you want to do proper research so that when you start, you have all the facts at hand, you will be on the road. If you want a piece of work that long and you are blank at 200 words then you are just bluffing. You are biting more than you can chew.
Less is more but not in writing, the more you write the better, especially if you are kicking facts, just don’t stop.
When I started writing, I could do 600 words easily, and then I moved to 1,000. I can do 3,300 peacefully but I usually down my pen at around 1500 words. It is said that a reader’s interest is not hooked until at around 300 words, and then you won’t lose it again until at 3,000 words. And so don’t limit yourself. Write 4,000-word articles but just know that some of us are lazy readers. I celebrate every time I finish a book because I know how hard I struggle going past a certain number of words.
I would write very good Swahili inshas in school but the teacher would tell me “your writings are too short”. Write more. And read more, and take breaks….and write with emotions. And you will evade writer’s block.