Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Writer's Block Be Gone!

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Life is unpredictable. So is our writing schedule. No matter how much we might try to keep to a schedule I equate it to any habit. It takes 30 days to successfully get any new habit going and even then, we will always have days where writer’s block sets into our heads. It’s unstoppable and we all get it. Just like you can’t predict someone’s sudden death or the accident that happened right down the street from where you grew up, you can’t stop this. It’s inevitable. No matter how meticulous or punctual your writing schedule is, some days you will end up staring at a blank computer screen. So now what happens, and how did you get here in the first place?

There are several types of writer’s block.

Scenario 1: The “Now where do I go,” syndrome. You’ve gotten to a certain point in your story or novel, but now you’ve hit a brick wall. This happens often when you don’t map your whole book out first. I learned this the hard way, even though one of my professors’s repeatedly told me to at least outline the book. I didn’t listen and the book kept changing course because of it. I love my book now, but it took me twice as long to get there because I didn’t outline first. Now I always outline my books; lesson learned.

Scenario 2:  A creative block. This one seems to be super hard to overcome because the ideas seem to run completely dry, even if only for a day. I’ll go over this another time because there are ways to overcome this.

Scenario 3: A mental block. Your head plays tricks on you, and tells you that you’re not good enough. You weren’t meant for this profession. Your writing sucks. No one will love what you wrote. You’re washed up. Whatever your head might be telling you, know that it’s wrong.

Scenario 4: Distractions. While your writing is meant to be the most important thing in your life, sometimes other things get in your way, like, I don’t know, life. You have another job (to help pay bills to support this passion), you have kids that need to be picked up from school, dinner that needs to be made, and people keep calling like the telemarketers that just don’t know how to take “no” for an answer, and ultimately ruin your train of thought.

Scenario 5: Procrastination. This seems to be the worst. It seems like #4 and #5 go hand in hand. We will talk to our neighbors or take care of everything else before we get back to our own writing. We make up excuse upon excuse and then when everything is said and done, we go back to our own writing.

Now, what to do? Remember our brain is like a stubborn child who just won’t listen. Understand that like your own child, you are the parent and they are the child. This is your brain and you tell it what to do and what to think. You are in charge of your own destiny, not the other way around.

So now what? Write one sentence, and when that is done, write another, and then another, and another until you’ve broken this curse and your fingers hurt so much that you feel like they might freeze or curl into one position. Then you know the writer’s block is gone, for now, and the next time it happens, remember that it’s something all artists have gone through. Bach, Beethoven, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, Dr. Seuss, and yes, even, JK Rowling, have all had writer’s block at one point in their lives. 

Today's post comes from Heather Riccio. For her other musings, visit her here.


  1. I don't mind writer's block. I don't have to write for a living so there's no pressure. I just accept it.

  2. Great post! I do write for a living (fortunately, I have a husband who does something a bit more financially helpful, so the whole family doesn't depend on me) and I do suffer writer's block. But I either push through it or I switch to working on a different project--or I go for a walk or watch TV until a brainstorm hits me. The block never lasts for long, fortunately.

  3. I couldn't imagine writing without a road map.

    My writer's block comes from being easily distracted. I have ADHD, so anything can distract me. But once I'm writing, my family has a hard time dragging me away from it. :)

  4. I don't give into writer's block if I'm stumped and music is not helping I take it as a sign I must take a breather and refresh the muse.