Surviving the Vices of a Writer

Battling writer's block, procrastination, and imposter syndrome

Megan Eisentraut

3/25/20243 min read

In my last post, I talked all about the vices of being a writer. We struggled through the woes of writer's block, procrastination, and imposter syndrome. It's important to remember that just because you're feeling the same frustrations everyone else has experienced, it doesn't make your experiences any less frustrating. All it means is that there is a community of people around you that is ready to stand alongside you as you find ways to combat these problems.

You are not alone.

In that spirit, I want to talk about the different ways I have personally found helpful to deal with these three issues. For the record, just because something works for me does not mean it will work for you (and vice versa), but these are some of the ways I have found work for me.

Writer's Block
This is something that every writer faces, and I'm completely convinced you're lying if you say you don't. I've found three main ways to combat writer's block. The first is to clear my mind. I'll often lay down on the ground and stare at my ceiling. Something about the completely white surface empties my mind of everything. I take a deep breath, and I focus on my goal. I'll walk myself through the scene I just wrote and think about all the different directions I could take it.

The other thing I often do when I'm trying to battle through writer's block is talk to my writing bestie. Her name is Emily, and we have been friends for three years. She is the most supportive person I know, and has been vital to my writing process. Because she's read multiple drafts of my book and understands the characters and world almost as well as I do, she is able to help me process through ideas because she knows what would work and what wouldn't. Having a community around you is so helpful because they understand the struggles of being a writer.

The last thing I do is admittedly very odd. I'll walk myself through the different scenes. I'll insert myself into the shoes of my character so that I can feel what they're feeling. I think about what works and what doesn't, and if I were truly standing in the position of the character I'm writing, what would that look like? I've found it to be incredibly helpful.

We all do this. None of us should deny it. I've found that procrastination is often partnered with writer's block because we're so frustrated without the ability to write that we find it's easier to push the problem to the side. I know that I do this very often.

So, how do I solve procrastination? Deadlines. The month of November is the most productive month of my writing year because of NaNoWriMo. For the last two years, I've struck an agreement with my roommates: if I do not complete the 1600 words in a day, they get to dump a bucket of water on me. When it's 30 degrees out and snowing, it's highly motivating. It forces me to sit and think about things I could possibly say. Last year, I made it all the way through and my roommate of the time was very disappointed. This year, I missed my deadline twice and paid the consequences.

In the wise words of my roommate AG, "have an accountability partner who wants you to succeed but also gets excited when you fail so you are actually scared of us dumping ice water on you in the winter."

Imposter Syndrome
I get this all the time. It's a very common issue to have, and unfortunately, not one I've cracked easily. The best way to survive this is to wait until it passes. Eat a snack and take a nap. It's important to remember that you are the only one who will ever know this story and these characters until you tell it. No one else is going to look over your shoulder and tell you you're telling a story wrong because no one else has that story living inside them. Now, don't misuse my words and decide to disregard everyone's advice and laugh in the face of an editor, but you're the only one that lives with this story. If you don't tell it, who will?

All three of these issues are common problems writers face. Find community and support to help you get through it and remember that you are the author of this story and no one can take that away from you.