Hypergraphia is a behavioral disorder I sometimes wish to be stricken with, if only temporarily. People with hypergraphia have an intense and uncontrollable desire to write, and usually churn out page after page, hour upon hour, day after day. Sometimes what they write is chaotic and disorganized, but other times they write The Brothers Karamazov or Alice in Wonderland. (Both Dostoevsky and Carroll are thought to have had hypergraphia.)
I, unfortunately, most often suffer from the opposite condition, writer’s block, sometimes called hypographia. We all know what a serious condition that can be! If left untreated it can lead to the loss of followers, a reduction in the quality and quantity of likes, being an unpublished writer, reduced earnings, and generalized anonymity. Fortunately, there is a lot of help out there. Just type “writer’s block” into your search engine and you will see what I mean. There are hundreds of X-ways-to-overcome-writer’s-block articles and posts. Some suggestions (consolidated and summarized) that I’ve found helpful are:
- Lower your standards. Just put pen to paper without worrying about how good your writing is or isn’t. You can revise and perfect it later. In other words, act as if you actually have hypergraphia. Who knows, maybe you’ll write the next Brothers Karamazov in a couple of hours flat?
- Stop writing and do something else for a bit. I find it particularly helpful to spend such breaks reading something by someone else.
- Have scheduled writing times and a completely distraction-free writing environment.
Here are some suggestions that seem promising, but I have yet to try:
- Use a computer program specifically designed to help with writer’s block. Yes, there are apps for that.
- Join a writers’ group. Good writers’ groups keep their members motivated and accountable, and help them when they get stuck. Some groups have quiet writing times during each meeting, which I think would help me. Other groups are just for people with writer’s block. Meetup.com lists 601 writer’s block meet-ups worldwide.
- Find a writing partner or co-author. Having a writing partner can demand even greater accountability, and can be an even greater motivator.
- Hire a ghostwriter. This is the make-something-happen-now take-no-prisoners nuclear option, and probably the best option if you need to get that book out, or that stream of articles and posts flowing, fast.
What do you do when you get writer’s block? Let me know in the comments.