Writer’s Block and What Causes It

This entry is part 1 of the series Writer's Block
Writer's Block: Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo   Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you believe in Writer’s Block?

Famous writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf and Ernest Hemingway have all admitted they’ve struggled with writer’s block. They obviously found a way to deal with it, or we wouldn’t have the books they are famous for.

Other writers say there is no such thing. I did a Google Search on “Famous writers on no such thing as writers block” and found pages and pages of articles.

Writer’s block is just another name for fear.” ― Jacob Nordby, author of many self-help books.

I was never sure what I believed as it was not a problem for me. I think I bought into the idea that “Writers write” and the cure to “Writer’s Block” was to sit down and write! I have often made comments like, “If you’re a nurse, you don’t just decide one day you’re not going to look after patients for a few days. You may not feel like nursing. But you’re paid to nurse, and so you nurse! If you’re a secretary, even if you don’t feel like taking minutes, if that’s part of your job you have no option. You take minutes. If you are a . . .  You get the picture! read more

12 Ways to Deal With Writer’s Block

This entry is part 2 of the series Writer's Block

Deal with writer's block upside down

By syvwlch [CC BY 2.0 (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/2.0)],   Wikimedia Commons

Last post we looked at Writer’s Block, what it was, some of the causes, and a few possible solutions. I promised you we would look at some ways best-selling authors deal with writer’s block.

1. Maya Angelou is a great author and poet. She was nominated for a Pulitzer award, received the National Medal of Arts and over fifty honorary degrees. This black lady wrote seven volumes of autobiography in which she colorfully evokes her childhood growing up in poverty and discrimination including cruelty. Her best-known book is probably I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She experienced times of writer’s block and here’s how she claims to have handled it: “What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.'”

Shirley: I hate the thought of repeated writing one phrase over and over again for two weeks! I’m sure just one day of it would convince me I was OVER writer’s block and I would WRITE! It may be rubbish, but anything would be better than that one phrase, don’t you agree? read more

17 Ways to Prevent Writer’s Block

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

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’ve looked at what writer’s block is, and some of the ways to deal with it. Then we looked at what 12 best-selling authors had to say about writer’s block and how they dealt with it. But surely the old maxim is true:

'Prevention is better than cure' applies to writer’s block. Click To Tweet


So how can we prevent writer’s block from developing in the first place? Don’t wait for it to happen. Here are some suggestions to weave into your way of life that may prevent writer’s block. read more

26 Quotes from Authors About Writer’s Block

This entry is part 4 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.

8 Different Types of Writer’s Block

This entry is part 5 of the series Writer's Block

Five weeks ago I confessed . . . I had writer’s block. I mean, real writer’s block. I couldn’t write three words that made sense. After fighting this malady for several weeks (before I confessed) I decided to research the topic. So I turned to the best of all research buddies – Google! I didn’t know at the time how much there was to read about the topic, or that there were different types of writer’s block. I wanted to know what I could do to overcome it.

I enjoyed what I learned so much that I decided to share it with you. And wham! No more writer’s block.

We discussed whether you believed in Writer’s Block and looked at  some of the causes.

Next, we looked at 12 Ways to Deal with Writer’s Block, reading the opinion of 12 well-known authors.

The following post we came up with 17 Ways to Prevent Writer’s Block from happening.

Then the post before this one we looked at 26 Quotes from Best-selling Authors on the topic of Writer’s Block.
QuestionSo what more is there to say? Well, I’ve discovered in my research that there are different types of Writer’s Block. This should probably have been #2 in the series of course, but hey! I’m learning as I go, and I hope you’re coming with me. As we look at the different types, I hope to add one or two suggestions for dealing with them. read more