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Is There A Scientific Explanation for Writer’s Block And How Do You Overcome It?

Posted by on 18th Jan 2013 | 0 comments

writer's blockExperiencing writer’s block when there’s a looming deadline is a blogger’s worst nightmare.

Nothing is worse than staring at a blank computer screen after hours of squeezing your brain, trying to come up with words, phrases, and sentences that actually make sense.

When you don’t know what to blog about, it’s very easy to blame it on writer’s block.

Writer’s block–real or product of a writer’s imagination?

Does writer’s block really exist?

People view this differently. For many, this is just an excuse creative people, like writers, use when they feel too lazy to write. These people don’t believe that it’s an actual condition that hinders writers. Others simply think of it as lack of inspiration.

Bloggers, especially those who write a lot of stuff on a regular basis, are more likely to run out of inspiration. It’s not surprising because if you had to churn blog posts and articles all the time, you’d eventually run out of fuel.

When that moment comes, you’re most likely to miss a deadline or turn in a mediocre work that your boss will not love.

And that’s when “writer’s block” is used as an excuse.

But is it really okay to blame “writer’s block” when it’s not even a real condition?

Is there any scientific truth about writer’s block?

The closest thing we can get as a scientific explanation for this condition is the findings of neurologist Alice Flaherty. An article published on ScienceBlogs.com in 2006 revealed that Flaherty did a study on hypergraphia, a condition that causes an uncontrollable compulsion to write (won’t we love that?).

frontal and temporal lobe of the brain where writer's block occursThis condition makes an individual’s brain to overflow with meaning (ideas, concepts, etc.) and causes them to spill the content out by writing. Turned out that this is due to unusual activities in the temporal lobe–the area in the brain responsible for giving meaning and significance to language–that saturates the brain with so many ideas.

This led her to discover some things about writer’s block. During a bout of writer’s block, which is the complete opposite of hypergraphia, an writer’s temporal lobe is in super active mode, meaning there are lots of ideas, but the frontal lobe–the language center–has reduced activity.

That means the mind is flowing with ideas but it cannot, literally, find the words to express them. That’s why you feel you know what you’re going to blog about but can’t think of the words to express them.

While this findings can give us a little insight on what really happens when we experience “writer’s block” it’s still does not provide concrete evidence that it’s a legitimate, mental condition that affects our ability to write.

Regardless of whether it’s really a condition or just a better term for laziness or unpreparedness, we can’t ignore the fact that a lot of us experience that.

We don’t really need to know if it’s something we can use as an excuse to clients when we fail to meet deadlines the way we would when we experience allergies, anxiety attacks, or even flu because it’s not going to work.

Clients are most likely to think that you were plain lazy or didn’t have the time to work on the blog (or article).

Ways to overcome writer’s block and start writing something

overcome writer's blockThere are several ways to overcome writer’s block. That’s the great news.

When you already know what you need to write about but can’t find the words, here are some things you need to do:

Create an outline. An outline will help you plan your blog well. You’ll know exactly what you need to talk about in certain parts of the post. It makes writing easier because you don’t have to write continuously, which is where most writers struggle.

Do a lot of research. Research is the key to any successful blog post. You can’t come up with something worth reading if you don’t know anything about the topic. Look for lots of information. You’re more likely to easily write about something you know much about.

Don’t start at the beginning. Ever found yourself stuck at the first sentence but already know how your body is going to look like? Sometimes, we need to not start at the beginning. The lead or first paragraph is always crucial, which is why it’s always hard to write, and it’s possible that our subconscious is keeping us from getting started because it wants us to compose something extraordinary.

Step away. Most of the time, when we force our brains to spill words it doesn’t happen. One of the most common ways to overcome writer’s block is to step away. Turn your computer off and watch some T.V. Go out for a walk or talk to someone. Play a video game or shoot some hoops. You need to get your mind off it so you can focus more. The idea will come when your mind is relaxed.

In case you have absolutely no idea what to write, here are some techniques that can help:

Come up with a how-to post. This is a sure-fire way to get you writing. You won’t need to do a lot of thinking (creatively). Just present the facts and list down the steps on how to do something. Before you know it. you’re halfway the 500-word requirement.

Create a different spin on a post you find interesting. Think of an insightful post and try to give it a different angle. This works well because you already have a topic and the details. All you need to do is present it in a different way, using your own words.

Stir the pot. Controversy is great for blogs because it engages readers. Try to present a different view on a certain topic. Present an argument. Challenge someone else’s opinion. Since you’re writing about your opinion, it should be easy to do. Just make sure that you don’t come off as offensive. Be objective in your arguments and back them up with information.

Create an infographic. An infographic is great because it summarizes everything you need to say and it does not require you to write lengthily. The key here is creativity. Make sure you can create images that will catch attention.

Make a survey and present the results. This is an effective way to write about something totally unique. And all the data you need is right there. Just ask a question to your audience. It can be about anything that concerns them. Compile the results and come up with your interpretation.

It does not matter what others think of writer’s block because all that matters is how you deal with it. You must learn to deal with it. It should not impede you. You have the power to control your mind and what you can write. Hopefully, these tips can help you continue writing even when you don’t feel inspired.

 

 

 

 


Irwin creates awesome content for various businesses online. He blogs about writing and other stuff, like Survivor. He also contributes for a lifestyle magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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