The 10 Early Warning Signs of Writer’s Block

I found a great article on a site called Script X-ray which I’m dying to share with you. However, here are the common signs of the feared block that causes not only your script, but your self to flounder.

1. You’re unable to make creative decisions

If you find yourself leaning back from your computer or notebook to ponder a few possible avenues of creative decision more than you’re leaning forward and actually writing. This shows a lack of focus and intimacy with your story.

2. You change your mind or heart on a daily basis

Changing direction while you’re attempting to write a story never works. Whether your mind leads to the change in direction due to what you think about the story, or your heart leads to the change due to how you feel about your story, chances are you won’t be able to make that change happen while writing, so you’ll either become frustrated, inundated with debilitating thoughts, or you’ll go ahead with the change and get lost in your own story. If this is you, chances are you can’t remember how long you’ve been working on your project – work faster. Sometimes a page one rewrite will help.

3. You can’t seem to focus on anything

Whether you find yourself struggling to focus on a character, a scene, or anything else you might lean back from the keyboard or notebook  to think about, chances are you’re experiencing an early sign of writer’s block. Lack of focus can lead to even worse cases, so it’s crucial to flex your mind and focus on what you’re trying to do.

4. You know you’re on a path to failure and feel down about it

It’s been recorded that many of those suffering from writer’s block often suffer from some sort of emotional pain, either from their personal, professional, or private life that may be linked to their inability to do any of the things mentioned above. This is often overlooked by a lot of writers who feel they aren’t experiencing any emotional pain in any aspect of their life, but that’s usually because writers are looking in every aspect of their lives with the exception of writing. Perhaps the fact that you feel you’re on a path to failure (by not writing every day or writing too poorly) could be the cause of the inner emotional pain keeping you from writing. If this is you, either cheer up and be thankful you’re able to pursue such a career as writing, or use your emotional energy to put your feelings into words.

5. You’re expecting change without changing anything

In addition to being one of the early signs of writer’s block, this is also a sign of early insanity. Not trying to scare you, but unless you actively set out to change up your daily routine, whether it includes your work schedule, your personal life, or heck, even your writing schedule, chances are you’re not going to see much change in what you’re experiencing now. Makes sense, right? You won’t sell a screenplay unless you write a screenplay. Don’t waste your time convincing yourself that something might happen even if you don’t finish your screenplay. It won’t; you won’t. If this is you then you’re dangerously close to making your way into the next phase of writer’s block – read on…

6. You’re starting to fit into that “some day” group of writers

If you find yourself discovering that you have more and more in common with the group of writers who often claim that they’re working on their novel or screenplay and that they’ll get finish or get published “some day,” you’re probably subconsciously tripping over your untied shoe laces and off the ledge that separates those who do and those that say they’re going to do.

7. You feel guilty when telling people you write

When chatting with friends or family, you often find yourself talking about your day job, school, entertainment, and other easy topics you enjoy and engage instead of your writing. You most likely wonder silently to yourself why you don’t talk about your writing or work, why you’re gabbing on about the job you hate, and even more silently wonder if you’re losing your passion for writing and conforming into another working class hero.

8. You’re too busy researching to write

You’re in denial. Everyone will understand that you’re serious as a writer when you say you’re busy researching your subject, world of story, character, or other major or minor element in your story, when answering their simple question, which is usually along the lines of “Wow. How much of it have you written?” What you don’t understand is that it’s not about the research, it’s about the story. While a story might require a certain scope of research to achieve a sense of realism, it’s not worth it to sacrifice the completion of your screenplay in exchange for hours upon hours of unfocused research. If this is you, consider yourself also experiencing signs one, two, and three. Put down the books and use your imagination – it’s where all the best answers and research comes from.

9. You’re no longer excited about your story or writing

Losing motivation and inspiration is easy when struggling with writer’s block – especially when working alone, – but it can be avoided with the right surge of inspiration. Whether you’re stuck in a story you don’t want to tell or simply don’t feel an attraction to telling stories anymore, chances are you’re being affected by one of the most evil forms of writer’s block. Rid yourself of it as soon as possible before it’s too late.

10. You read and read and read, but don’t write

This writer suffers from one of the most serious cases of writer’s block – the kind that keeps the writer running in circles until eventually becoming like the victim right upstairs at number nine. If you find yourself reading book after book about how to write, you’re like a close cousin to number five. Just like those who expect change without triggering it, those who read non-fiction books on writing will continue to read and read the theories and commentary, yet never set a finger to the keys or pen to the pad. This is usually because the writer is in search of some secret fountain of success that would allow them to find success with their writing without actually having to write. While it’s great to read how to books (and blogs for that matter) on writing, it’s one step away from the a much worse form of writer’s block.




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