1. Because You Feel Like You Have Nothing to Say
Sometimes it’s hard to write because you have nothing to say. You’re lost in that pervasiveness sameness. Where nothing has happened, so what is there to report on? One way to deal with this is to keep a backlog of ideas that you record as you think of them. I have one. But on some days, I can flip through them and find that none of them call to me. I’ll roll my eyes at what past self thought was compelling. Hilariously, a future self might look at this same cache and find it wildly inspirational. Making is weird. It’s all subjective. Truly. I can’t even agree among my past, present, and future selves — what hope is there for a unanimous opinion among the greater public… on anything?
2. Because You Can’t Write the Thing You Write About
Sometimes it’s hard to write because there’s something big occupying your thoughts that you can’t write about, for whatever reason. At least not publicly. I usually have one thing at any given moment that I’m thinking about that I can’t share with other people.
True, I usually write about it privately in my journal. (Yes, I have a private journal even though I publish blog posts daily. I recommend having a private place to express your thoughts. It’s a key to staying psychologically healthy.)
And some of these eventually become public writings in some way, shape, or form when the time comes that I can write about them publicly. But not all of them. And of course, private writing doesn’t help me meet my deadlines, although it certainly serves a purpose.
3. Because It’s Not Your Story to Tell
Sometimes it’s because what you would write isn’t your story to tell. Someone else needs to tell it. It’s their secret, their vulnerability, their call. But your brain just won’t get with the program. Won’t get on board, respecting other people’s boundaries. Your brain won’t stop telling your version of it in your head, and that’s terribly distracting.
4. Because You Don’t Believe In Yourself as a Writer
When you’re having trouble writing, sometimes it’s because you don’t believe in yourself and your ability to do the story justice with your words. I fall into this trap a lot. Yes, really. Even with a readership and a proven track record of meeting deadlines and consistently good reviews, I get psyched out terribly — especially when I care about a subject or the story I’m telling.
Anything less than more than I’m capable of as a writer will not do. Do you see the problem here? My capability might grow over the years with sustained practice and effort (and hopefully it will), but I’ll never be better than my best at any given time. “Best” will change. But I’ll never exceed that.
Anyway, the way I usually deal with this is to give myself permission to write something that’s just okay and even bad.
Oddly, those “good enough” runs end up being some of my most popular work.