12 September 2009

Writer's Block Is A Myth

by Morgan Barnhart

The writer's one weakness has always been the dreaded writer's block, but what if I told you that writer's block is a myth brought on by laziness and lack of self-discipline? Freelance writers are very susceptible to it. I'm not trying to downplay your feelings as a writer, but just hear me out for a moment if you're serious about finishing and publishing your work.

What do you always hear when people complain of writer's block? “I have no motivation”, “I just stare at the screen and nothing comes out”, “I got distracted by the TV”, and the excuses go on. That's exactly what they are; excuses. They're a reason you give yourself so you don't have to write your articles or that novel you've been working on.

I remember reading an interview in Writer's Digest once where they said, “Authors write. If you're not writing, you're not an author.” It's a pretty solid statement.

by patronus4000

If you're stuck in a rut and want to write but feel like you just can't, then write anyway! Force yourself to write. Turn off and tune out all distractions (this includes the internet, however, if you need music, that's permitted) and write away! Write whatever comes to mind. And I mean, whatever comes to mind. I don't care if it's just, “This is stupid, I don't feel like writing so I'm forcing myself to write.” Just that simple bit of writing will stretch out your fingers and get those juices flowing. Nine times out of ten you'll keep writing and from that incoherent rambling you'll suddenly be in the mood to write something you actually care about.

You need more motivation, you say? There's a website called Write Or Die by Dr. Wicked. There are three different levels of difficulty but with each level as soon as you stop writing, it gives you either a very annoying flashing light, sound or music. Once you start writing again, it stops. Sounds fun, right?

You might be thinking, “But I write for fun! I don't want to force myself to write!” That's all well and good, but if you want to be a serious writer, you need to actually write something. Writing can be fun again, I promise, but first you have to cut off the fat in order to get to the juicy bits.

Break out of that writer's block today and get back to writing!


  1. I tried the site you recommended. Wow! Dr. Wicked is pretty fair with you . . . gives you enough time to think. Still the screen goes red, redder, until it's the color of blood then, BAM! a screeching violin?

    I expect he has fingernails on chalkboard sound, too. I'm going to try it when working on my next chapter :).

  2. Um, is this a hint, my dear? I am totally going to try this site, sooner or later, so make sure that I can find this article in the future, if you would be so kind.
    I love the way Morgan tells it like it is, without being sugary sweet or viciously cruel. I am so very guilty of the majority of excuses that a person can come up with. I know that they are excuses; I just treasure them and build them up until they are the "Truth" in addition to being excuses. Well, I shall hereby resolve to "try" to do better. We all know what that means, right? I'll give it a half-hearted attempt, then fall right back into my normal pattern. Well, with the help of my spouse and certain friends, perhaps this time I can stay on the "no-excuses" bandwagon!

  3. Another common cause of being blocked is perfectionism. I suffered for a year or more wanting everything I wrote to come out perfect the first time. It took Nanowrimo, with it's hell-bent for leather writing attitude to show me what an idiot notion perfectionism is. Now, I write more than ever (though mostly nonfiction).

  4. Mary, I think you are entirely correct about perfectionism causing writer's block.

    But, what is Nanowrimo?

  5. Excellent advice - I couldn't agree more!

  6. Good article. Dr Wicked is indeed....wicked.