Writer’s Block. What is it? Is it a myth?

Oct 24 2021, 1:42 pm in

   The term writer’s block is subjective in that it means something different to each person who uses it. My first writing mentor was a no beating around the bush person. She said writer’s block is inadequate story preparation/development.  Owie. Harsh? You betcha. But, bottom line that’s what it is for me. I will say I prefer to soften that definition to saying it’s my writer’s brain telling me to stop. Something isn’t right. Now, it would be nice if writer brain would tell me what the problem is but noooo, I have to figure it out myself.  


When a scene isn’t working my first thought is about POV.  That is, if I’m writing deep 3rd.  If there is another character who has more to lose switch to their POV.

Does the scene have enough conflict and emotion?

Am I writing this character’s correct conflict and emotions? Should a character be crying or throat punching some one?

And there is show vs tell.  I think telling, too much narrative, is a story stall for newbie authors. Yes, they’re getting the story across but it doesn’t feel right. I will say the more you write the easier to identify what hold ups are.

Read the authors you admire and want to emulate. Reread passages you like take in the pacing

I get encouragement from writer quotes. Here are a few on writer’s block to drive you around that the corner.  

“Writer’s block is a phony, made up BS excuse for not doing your work.” — Jerry Seinfeld

“I don’t believe in writer’s block. Think about it — when you were blocked in college and had to write a paper, didn’t it always manage to fix itself the night before the paper was due? Writer’s block is having too much time on your hands.” — Jodi Picoult

“I don’t believe in “writer’s block”. I try and deal with getting stuck by having more than one thing to work on at a time. And by knowing that even a hundred bad words that didn’t exist before is forward progress.” — Neil Gaiman

“I tell my students there is such a thing as ‘writer’s block,’ and they should respect it. It’s blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven’t got it right now.” — Toni Morrison

“When I have writer’s block it is because I have not done enough research or I have not thought hard enough about the subject about which I’m writing. That’s a signal for me to go back to the archives or to go back into my thoughts and think through what it is I am supposed to be doing.” — Annette Gordon-Reed

What do you think? Does writer’s block exist? If you’ve experienced it, what’s your method to beat it into submission? 

One thing I know for sure, this writing stuff sure ain’t easy but I sure love it.




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