Moving Beyond Writer’s Block: 3 Tips For Writers For Social Justice
Sometimes you hit a wall. It’s one thing to have writer’s block, but when it relates to the emotional labor involved in writing for social justice, not knowing what else there is left to say carries a deeper, more personal meaning.
Here are 3 things I find helpful in those times. The work we do offline often provides the fuel for the words we post online, so these thoughts can apply to your actions in the real world as well.
Take a break
Sometimes, it’s as simple as that. Doing anything but writing can have a profound impact on your ability to recharge.
Choose yourself. Taking a break is a necessary act of survival. What helps you to relax when you’re feeling stressed? What healthy thought processes, behaviors, and relationships can you turn to that are restorative to you?
I’m talking about a full stop, including ceasing the consumption of social media. Even if it’s just a day off, sometimes you really do need a solid day to reaffirm your humanity. Give this a try. It doesn’t mean defeat, it doesn’t mean that you’re giving up, it’s an acknowledgement of your life’s inherent value.
Read the work of others
Reading the work of others can help you to make sense of your own thoughts. Especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed; others who are not at that point might be able to say the things you can’t at the time.
In my note “I will try again tomorrow” I shared 10 different links, each saying a little bit of what I wanted to say, but couldn’t at the time. I’ve done the same thing in a different note in hopes to help myself, and others process the events in #Ferguson.
There’s room for all of us in this work, and everyone has something to contribute. One of the great things about that is when we need to recharge, someone else, somewhere is continuing the work.
Reading the work of others; particularly in those moments where you can’t utter the words yourself, can be deeply affirming and restorative.
Revisit your purpose
If you’ve been experiencing writer’s block lately, feeling somewhat immobilized by things that are happening in the world, revisiting your purpose can also be helpful towards nudging you from that place and can remind you to get back to the honesty, to the openness in sharing, and the reasons why you started writing in the first place.
Those were some initial thoughts from me, but I’d like to hear from you.
— (N.A.H.) Blog (@N_A_H_Blog) August 24, 2015
What readers have said
I posed this question to the readers for community input earlier today, and here are some responses that came up.
(N.A.H.) community member Shannon says:
“Can you invite guest posters to your blog and do some guest posts for other bloggers? Activist fatigue is real. Take care of yourself, please.”
“How about some IRL (In Real Life) interaction with other activists? Like a meetup to do something unrelated if you’re getting burnt out. It’s easy to get comfortable by having all activities online.
Ex: I led a feminist bike ride through our city. We blasted music and danced and raised hell. It was both fun and memorable and many folks on the ride became good friends of mine afterwards.”
Friend to (N.A.H.) D.A. Królak added:
“Fatigue is very easy trap to fall into, being outraged anew, or watching others get outraged everyday can take a very steep toll on both the writer & the human. Self-care, a bit of distractions, going to your “happy place”, reading really great historic pieces from previous social movements (esp when they were in conflict), meditation, but probably nothing else above simply reading”
“…Writing is hard, very hard. Blogging (and the past decade) have made everyone think that it is easy, and we all can do it. While we can, when it comes to crafting a well placed message that is meant to do more than entertain minds/hearts for a few minutes in the new Attention economy, it requires a real craft & commitment. It also requires calling on reserves of strength which can leave you depleted. That for me has always been found in the words of great thinkers.”
For some, acknowledgement of the challenge was enough:
This is very challenging. https://t.co/BdfiTudMXv
— Zaida (@GovanZaida) October 30, 2015
Many thanks to my community members and friends for your support.
How do you move beyond writer’s block?
From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW