By Bethany Jezierski, CBS 62/CW50 Intern
Too many times you find yourself staring into a blank screen or sheet of paper and wondering “what’s next?” or “what should I write about now?” This is a common thing for writers to go through. We can’t be creative 24/7 and always have an answer for everything. We are only human too.
But what is the cause of writer’s block? How is a person affected when they are feeling stumped?
First, let’s identify what writer’s block even is. According to the dictionary, writer’s block is “the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.”
A “condition?” Really? Yes, really. Writer’s block can actually lead to a physiological reaction in the body that can reduce or inhibit normal function. It is a type of stress that can cause anxiety or depression and even be a sign of another serious condition like Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Environmental aspects could be a major culprit of a writer’s mental stall. At Harvard Medical School, neurology instructor Alice Flaherty describes in her book “The Midnight Disease” how light can affect the ebbs and flows of the temporal lobe in the brain. As a result, writers tend to be more or less creative during different seasons or hours of the day.
The most important thing to look out for is whether or not these moments of writer’s block are much longer moments than they should be. If memory loss is interrupting your daily life, this could be a sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia. Some signs to look for according to the Alzheimer’s Association, would be:
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks.
- Losing track of where you are or how long it has been.
- Struggling with familiar vocabulary like calling a clock a watch.
Although many of these are signs of Alzheimer’s, it does not mean that you have the disease. There are many things that can cause someone to have a bit of brain fog. Drinking, sleepiness, or being hungry can cause anyone to lose good judgement or writing ability.
So…here are a few ways to try and conquer writer’s block:
- Change your environment. If you change your surroundings there’s a chance you could be inspired by what you see or hear in your new area.
- Turn on a light. This will help activate the brain and wake up the senses.
- Eat something. Ever heard of food for thought? Food will increase blood flow to the brain so you can be more creative.
- Take a nap. If you let your mind rest and come back to your work feeling refreshed, you may gain a new perspective.
- See a doctor. If things get progressively worse, it may be time to consult a professional. Especially if it has a major physical effect on your daily life.
Though seeing a doctor may seem extreme, not being fully cognitive and having long periods of forgetfulness may be a sign of a bigger issue. So keep yourself healthy and safe and if you are feeling depressed, tell someone. It may even save your story.
Writer’s block tips compiled from smartblogger.com/writersblock, writersdigest.com, and goinswriter.com/how-to-overcome-writers-block.
Bethany Jezierski is participating in the CBS Corporate Veterans Internship at CBS 62/CW 50. She is studying Electronic Media and Film with a Minor in Journalism at Eastern Michigan University. She has a passion for writing and photography and enjoys exploring her creative side.