Writer's Block

Happy Monday from the Tropics, everyone! Let's get down to business, shall we?

Let me know your thoughts on the phenomenon that is Writer's Block.

Do you have bouts of it?

What do you do to combat Writer's Block?


  1. Occasionally I wonder if I might be experiencing writer's block but then I just empty my mind, which seems way to easy to do and something comes!

  2. The longer I've gone without reading good writing by others, the worse my writer's block gets. Sleep deprivation is another cause. Coffee and a good book usually does the trick.

  3. It's an interesting question. Writing everyday absolutely helps unlock the block. I believe a lack of confidence about ones work does play a part in the cause of the block, and I would include stress and nerves as well. Personally, it's a rare occasion that I suffer from a block but when it does happen, I follow my natural instincts to find the cure. First, I don't self analyze, I simply make a change. I might change perspective, or atmosphere. Walking away from the work for a while, going for a long walk or talking on the phone is always helpful, or reading a good book. If the block is deep, I'll come at it from a different angle, use the back door to get into the room. For me, change is what works best. Keeping your skills sharp, losing self and ego and fully enjoying the process is what it's all about. If you are feeling joy each time you write, such high alpha bliss that you can only achieve when knee deep in the art, then writers block becomes a non issue. It's a matter of addiction, love, lust for the work. If you live and breathe for writing...that's the key that unlocks the door!

  4. Sometimes I think its just a pressure build up...too much emphasis on meeting goals or deadlines..You just need to step back and process.

  5. I'm with Chris, if you are fresh out of ideas, then pause. Do some Yoga, stand on your head, do some laundry, clean your house and right when you are about to face the toilet, inspiration will hit and save your from the task!

  6. I have only had writer's block recently but I think I've just gotten lazy. I wrote so much for so many years that now I'm tired I guess. I get stalled by clunky sentences. I hate when I write lousy sentences.
    I am amazed since I have been writing so much that I can come up with ideas out of nowhere. I know what my inspirations are. I have to go to those things and re-fuel.
    This is nice this video. Thank you

  7. @Chris = I have to try that sometime. :-)

    @Bryan = You're right, reading does do the trick too.

    @Susie = I love that! When I get restless, I step away too, but then the work calls me back soon enough.

    @Nikki = That's true. A looming deadline can make or break momentum.

    @S.B. = Ah, yes, 'tis the art of doing other things. I agree.

  8. I have just discovered the joy of writing short and flash fiction. I've been on a standstill with my WIP, and I can't seem to get my muse working on it. Some blogger friends were hosting short story contests and I decided to join just for the heck of it. I've written 2 shorts and now my muse is working again! Goodbye writer's block! Sometimes, taking a break or venturing into an unfamiliar writing path can jolt that muse back into place. ;)

  9. The muse, as better writers than I have noted, is fickle. Somedays you get stuck and would rather hit Kongregate for some quick jollies, other times you get inspired and go on a writing binge. (One of which I am in the middle of right now. And will probably go right back to once I'm done here.)

    But anyway, when writer's block hits, I tend to do one of two things:

    1) Write down world-building stuff and exposition that you know you're going to edit out next draft.
    2) Get the characters talking to one another. Don't have a set direction in mind for the conversation: just have each naturally respond to the other and see where it takes you.

    Both have the same result: You write a lot of material. Maybe most of it is unusable, but writing it down and solidifying it in your mind can clarify or remind you of what your world and your characters are like. Which can in turn tell you what must happen next in the story.

    Lupines and Lunatics

  10. @Alyne = I often get stuck on clunky sentences too, which gets me all restless. I'm glad that you liked the video.

    @cherie = I love writing flash fiction too! In fact, the Story of the Week section of this site is dedicated to short and flash fiction.

    @Lup = Hey, you! Happy writing. :-)

  11. I had a couple of years after my first two books were published when everything i wrote was awful. This was also shortly after my mother died. Either I was burnt out, frustrated with the state of publishing or in some kind of reactive grief - I never found out what. But when I started SIX CLICKS AWAY, a novel in interlinked stories, the characters drew me in - each story was all inclusive, and I've had no problems since then.

  12. I blogged on British Romance Writer's Blog last week on this.

  13. @Bonnie = I love it when the characters refuse to let you go. That's the best.

    @Fenella = I would love to read your post.

  14. I'm not an author, but I review books and I get Blogger block . It comes from being overwhelmed with so many books to read and review. I no longer have time to read the books that made me want to blog in the first place! I have the next Sookie, Cassandra Palmer and Kate Daniels sitting on my shelf, but I can't read them till I clear my review obligations. So I took a break from the books I *have to read and sat down with some I *wanted to read. It helped. I have a post coming out called Blogger Burnout. Where I talk about this

  15. @Sharon = Blogger burnout. I like that.

  16. Cool video clip. Writer’s block has been rare for me (so far), so I’m lucky in that regard. I’d have to agree with the ‘self doubt’ angle. That and the fear of painting myself into a corner. When I do find myself ‘stuck’ my trusted remedies are:
    1. Take a short nap - and keep my recorder nearby; once I begin to drift off a solution (or several) pops into my head - nap over! To be honest, many, many parts of HILL 170 (my debut espionage thriller) were ‘born’ this way. The story told itself to me. and that, to me, is the magic of writing a novel.
    2. Take a shower. S.B. mentions something along this same line. Supposedly cleaning, bathing and ironing do something with our minds that open a creativity doorway. In my less-than-scientific brain I liken it to times spent in a boring class in grade school. If I had a pad and pencil, I was doodling. Writer’s block? Go doodle in the shower! (hey! Watch it now; I see those silly thoughts peeping up!)
    3. (This is mostly for use at the outset of a new novel) I keep a folder of kick starters in my file cabinet; random thoughts, quotes from favorite books, titles of certain movies…. My list of stuff that when I review it I always think ‘I want to write a scene/character/environment like that!’ Pretty soon, the gears start going.

  17. If I get writer's block I tend to go back into the story and start dong some edits (mostly grammar and spelling or looking at past writing to see if it needs som eupdateing and once I get into it I start to see the story again...

  18. I agree with you, Kate. To me, the block is associated with my inability to access the ideas, the creative flux, which is constantly around me. And my inability stems from the fact that my mind is filled with things. I must be empty and allow the flux to enter my system. If I'm worried about other things, if I start questioning my ability, I'm filling my mind and preventing the very delicate creative flux to influence me. I'm like a radio playing a station and trying to tune in to another. What I do in situations like these is: close my eyes and breathe deeply for a while. That works 99% of the time. And when breathing doesn't work, I'll just go out and stay around Mother Nature for a while!!

  19. @Michael = I know a writer who keeps a box of ideas. The nap I might have to pass on because I'll end up full on sleeping. :-P

    @Kristi = I do that some of the time, but since editing and writing are two different hats, I like to wait until the creative is done before I go for the technical stuff.

    @Ron = Staying around Mother Nature, how very Romanticist of you. I like it!

  20. Hi Kate,
    I try and stick with what I was taught to do. If I can't get the book done within 3 month's , I toss it! so I have only been stuck on one book, That is one that is close to me. My personal experience's, It will take a while on that one.
    Take Care,
    Author, Mary E.Foster

  21. no! Now I think I have comment block too! ;-)

  22. Hi there,
    I think we all suffer from writer's block at some point - normally every day, but I try to have several projects on the go at the same time. This helps the creativity. Another tip - I spend time every week reading other books at random at the book store. I read several chapters and different genres and also sometimes will buy the book. The point is I get a feel for creative writing this way, which then helps me move on with what I'm doing.

    Hope this helps...
    Author,Anthony Fox

  23. @Mary = A book that doesn't get done in three months gets tossed...that's such an interesting idea. I must keep it in mind.

    @Sam = That's what happens sometimes. :-P

    @Anthony = I like the tip of reading a couple of chapters from different genres, but I'm the type where I usually have to finish something I've started. :-)

  24. The thing that greases the wheels of writer's block best for me is to just write. Write about anything. Take a random subject chosen from the dictionary and write as boring a couple of paragraphs as you can possibly write for about ten minutes. Then take another subject from any item in your room and write another boring couple of paragraphs. This will get the ink shaken out of your physical "pen." Like artists who have to often sketch some very fast and furious throw-aways before they can paint a wonderful piece...writers need to allow themselves to do some trash writing for the fun of it! There is no such thing as writer's block...just a blockhead who came up with that idea!


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