When you have to chosen to be a writer or blogger, you would spend a lot of time churning out content. The task is even more challenging for a freelance or a full time writer may be required to write on topics that is not a personal favourite.
There will come a time when writers or bloggers suffer from burnout or writers block- you can be staring at your notebook for an hour or so without any inspiration for any content. When this lasts for more than a day or a week, it gets really demoralizing and stress gets added on to stress, causing even more stress since our bread and butter depends on it.
If we are working in a normal job 9-to-5 regular job, there are known protocols and step-by-step guide to follow. This is the challenge facing most people who have chosen to walk the creative field- that there isn’t a clear black-and-white, or yes-no way to approach the problem.
Below is an excerpt of an interview with Tash Aw by S.H Lim. Tash Aw, a Malaysian, is an award winning full time writer based in London. Like all of us, he also experienced the writer’s block and ‘down time’. He offered insight on how he handled this problem:
Are there bad times in writing and how terrible are they?
The bad times in writing are numerous and range from being merely bad to truly catastrophic. Any writer will tell you that the daily grind of writing is in itself a challenge, but anyone engaged in a serious project will experience great lows during which one doubts the very validity of one’s existence as a writer – sometimes it feels as if one can’t even write a single sentence.
The job of a writer is largely concerned with being able to withstand these dips in morale. Sometimes they can last months, during which the whole of your life seems futile. But writing is cyclical and if you can hang on long enough and keep working through these dips the good times do come back. Eventually.
How to withstand these “dips in morale”?
The best way to withstand these dips is to persevere, even though it’s painful. It’s too tempting to take time off if things are not going well – but if a writer takes time off every time he hits a snag, he’d never write.
There are of course times when one needs a bit of distance, for the sake of perspective, to think about the course of the novel in a rational way. If I hit a major obstacle in the writing of a novel, I take time off by spending a week reading – often the great classics – and trying not to think about the details of my novel. That way I’m able to take a break from my work while still thinking about literature.
(Note: To see the original full interview, click here.)
The job of a writer is extremely satisfying and fulfilling- especially if you absolutely love writing and you get paid for doing something you love. But alongside the ups, there would be down times- they may not happen often but if we are not equipped to handle it, it can rack disharmony and conflict in us- perhaps to make is consider giving it up altogether. Tash’s advice is good- face it with courage, take a break to do anything else but writing and the phrase will pass. If we spend our time obsessed and worrying that our talent had probably dissipated and the lack of inspiration is permanent, we may work ourselves up into a crescendo and give up before the time’s up, or before we can see any breakthrough.
So, hang on there, would ya?