26 Quotes from Authors About Writer’s Block

This entry is part 3 of the series Writer's Block

author thinking

A few weeks ago I admitted to suffering severe writer’s block, following two back-to-back surgeries. I couldn’t think what to write about or what I could say. Finally I decided to see what I could dig up on the Web about writer’s block, and sure enough writing about it got me writing again!

Over the past few days I’ve gathered some short quotes from a selection of authors, some well-known and others I’ve never heard of. Almost all of them have something wise to share with us.  The one thing that strikes me is this:

Every writer has something to say about writers' block. Click To Tweet

Some of their pithy comments are worth printing out and sticking on our computers.

We started this series by looking at what writer’s block is, and some of the ways we can overcome it. In the second episode, we saw what 12 best-selling authors  have to say about writer’s block. And then last post we looked at 17 ways to prevent writer’s block.

Many quotes from authors say writer’s block is some sort of fear:

Could this be true? And if so, how can we conquer the fear? Here are a few:

  1.  “Why do I keep evading my work? Is it because I’m afraid of being confronted by my lack of abilities?” Candace Bushnell, Summer and the City.
  2.  “I deal with writer’s block by lowering my expectations. I think the trouble starts when you sit down to write and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificent—and when you don’t, panic sets in.” Malcolm Gladwell
  3.  “I think writer’s block is simply the dread that you are going to write something horrible. But as a writer, I believe that if you sit down at the keys long enough,  sooner or later something will come out. Roy Blount, Jr.
  4. “Writer’s block is just another name for fear.” Jacob Nordby
“Writer's block is just another name for fear.” Jacob Nordby Click To Tweet

Here are some quotes from authors suggesting ways to deal with writer’s block:

  1. You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.  John Rogers
  2. “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” Mark Twain.
  3. I’ve often said that there’s no such thing as writer’s block; the problem is idea block. When I find myself frozen–whether I’m working on a brief passage in a novel or brainstorming about an entire book–it’s usually because I’m trying to shoehorn an idea into the passage or story where it has no place. Jeffery Deaver
  4. “Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all” Charles Bukowski, The Last Night of the Earth Poems.
Writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all: Charles Bukowski. Click To Tweet

Some quotes from authors warn about internal editors:

  1. “Don’t get it right, just get it written.” James Thurber
  2. “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” William Faulkner
  3. “Confront the page that taunts you with its whiteness. Face your enemy and fill it with words. You are bigger and stronger than a piece of paper.” Fennel Hudson, A Writer’s Year – Fennel’s Journal – No. 3
  4. “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” Anne Lamott
Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts: Anne Lamott Click To Tweet

A few more quotes from authors concerning writer’s block:

  1. Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.” H. Jackson Brown Jr.
  2. “If I waited till I felt like writing, I’d never write at all.” Anne Tyler
  3. “There’s an awful temptation to just keep on researching. There comes a point where you just have to stop, and start writing.” David McCullough
  4. “If you don’t write when you don’t have time for it, you won’t write when you do have time for it.” Katerina Stoykova Klemer
  5. “Start before you’re ready.” Steven Pressfield
  6. “I get a lot of letters from people. They say “I want to be a writer. What should I do?” I tell them to stop writing to me and to get on with it.” Ruth Rendell
  7. “Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.” E. L. Doctorow
  8. “If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.”  Dan Poynter
If you wait for inspiration to write; you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter. Click To Tweet

And a few quotes from authors to inspire you through writer’s block:

  1. “Failing to write everyday doesn’t mean that you’ve given up, though a chapter a day – keeps writers block away!” David Batterson
  2. Every writer I know has trouble writing.” Anne TylerOak tree saying
  3. Do the work. Steven Pressfield
  4. “I rewrote the ending of ‘Farewell to Arms’ 39 times before I was satisfied.”Ernest Hemingway
  5. “Writing is talking, except you get the chance to edit what you just said.” Bangambiki Habyarimana
“Writing is talking, except you get the chance to edit what you just said”: Bangambiki Habyarimana Click To Tweet

How do you go about conquering writer’s block? 

Do you use one of the above? Or do you have another to add? Share your system with us in the comment section below.

12 comments on “26 Quotes from Authors About Writer’s Block

  1. I absolutely agree with the “just get it written” statement. So often I’ve allowed myself to overthink things to the point of becoming frozen– kind of like a computer that’s stuck in the reboot stages. It’s better to just get it down and revisit it later with a fresh eye and a red pen. Thanks for this wonderful round up of thoughts and suggestions!

    • Thanks for the visit, Rica. Yes, it’s easy to get stuck by overthinking things. I find it so easy to spend ages trying to find the “right word” and by the time I have it, I can’t remember why I wanted it!

  2. Great quotes. Stephen King wrote a book about writing, though the title eludes me. What I do is read and ideas tend to spark from other peoples ideas and they aren’t the same but inspire me.

    • Stephen King – “On Writing”. It’s an excellent book, I have it and must read it again. And yes, you’re right. The more we read of other’s experiences with writing, the more inspired we can become.

    • Thank you for the visit, Marcia. And yes, #11 and #12 are good to remember. I also love #26. How I often wish I could edit what I’ve just said to someone! ?

  3. I love a good quote Shirley – and ones about writing always inspire me (except Ernest Hemingway re-writing his ending 39 times!!)

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