2 Lesson 2: Writer’s Block

The Passion of Creation by Leonid Pasternak, a Russian post-impressionist painter

What Is Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is the inability to write because the writer doesn’t know what to write, doesn’t know how to proceed in a piece of writing, or doesn’t have the confidence to write. The condition can last for several minutes to days to weeks, and even months and years for some writers.

Often, the inner critic, a still, small, critical voice that sends negative messages to the brain, keeps writers from writing. Those negative statements may sound something like this:

  • I don’t have anything to write about.
  • No one will read what I write.
  • No one will like what I write.
  • I don’t have time to write now.
  • I’m not a good writer.
  • An editor won’t publish what I write.

How Do Writers Overcome Writer’s Block?

Writers who succeed are the ones who have the drive to push through their writer’s block. Here are some suggestions for overcoming writer’s block:

  • Find the root cause of the inner critic’s statement. In other words, why do you believe the negative statement(s)?
  • Restate the inner critic’s statement(s) in a positive way. Read and recite them regularly until you believe them to be true.
  • Talk with another writer about the problem. Find out what they do to overcome writer’s block.
  • Remind yourself that mistakes are okay in the first draft and that revision is where the magic exists in writing.
  • Don’t start at the beginning if that’s where you are stuck.
  • Draw the piece of writing in pictures instead of words.
  • Work on another piece if one piece isn’t working for you. Then, come back to the piece that wasn’t working for you.
  • Try writing in a different location: library, cafe, kitchen table, cabin, coffee shop, etc.
  • Attend a writer’s conference or retreat.
  • Try writing with a different tool: pen, pencil, marker, computer, etc.
  • Try writing during a different time of day.
  • Put writing and reflective thinking time regularly on your calendar. Don’t allow other events take its place.
  • Give yourself permission to write without concern for success.
  • Know that many authors who have been successful had their manuscripts rejected multiple times.



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