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Monday, January 21, 2019

Writer's Block with Depression and Anxiety




Anonymous asked: How do you deal with writer's block? What if you have depression/anxiety and it's latching on to said block? Is it a "power through it" thing? Or a "take a day for self-care and come back tomorrow" thing?


First question:

I’ve found there are a few reasons we might get writer’s block.

A Lack of Brainstorming
Usually when I get writer’s block, it’s because I haven’t brainstormed enough. I’m stuck because I don’t know what to do next. That’s when I stop and have a few brainstorming sessions to get the ideas flowing.

The Wrong Turn
I’ve heard other writers say that if you get writer’s block, it means you’ve taken a “wrong turn” with your story, and you need to go back a few pages to figure out where you strayed. I just did this today, on a small scale. Totally helped.

Writing into a Corner
Sometimes you can get writer’s block because you’ve written your character into a corner. Maybe you’ve had a kidnapper tie her up and you can literally think of no way she can get out of the situation. In that case, you may need to go back and rewrite the story so she doesn’t get that stuck.

A Loss of Motivation
Sometimes it’s not really writer’s block, but me losing my drive to write. I might just need a break (like you mentioned), or I might need to consume some fiction that I love, which helps.

Perfectionism
Sometimes I get writer’s block when I’m trying to be too perfect with my writing. It’s like I want to get everything right all at once! For that, I have to try to give myself permission to mess up and overlook problems until later.

Other questions:

Depression and anxiety can be the worst. I’m not qualified to give any professional advice or anything in that realm, but I can talk about my own personal experiences.

FOR ME I’ve actually found that writing helps me deal with depression and anxiety. It DOES NOT make writing easy. In fact, it can be really, really hard to write when I’m depressed or anxious. But 9/10, I feel better writing when depressed than not writing when depressed. Even though it’s hard, it helps me feel like I’m moving in a direction. Sometimes we don’t have any control over the depression or what is causing the depression–but I always have some control over my words. At least at the end of the writing session, I know I tried, if nothing else. On great days, it may actually help me get over depression (but there are so many facets to depression, that it’s hard to generalize and it can be so individualized).

For me, I usually try to keep writing. But if it’s really, really bad and doesn’t seem to be getting better, then I’ll consider taking a break. I don’t know that the answer is really clear, other than to try both. Keep writing and see how you feel. If it’s not helping, take a day off and see how you feel. If taking the day off doesn’t help, I usually assume it’s just something I’ll have to power through and keep writing. But it may not be the same for everyone. And it also depends on your personal circumstances.

Those are my thoughts anyway. Hope they help.

If anyone wants to chime in via comments, go ahead. 

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