Why I Don’t Believe in Writer’s “Block”

Writers hear about writer’s block all the time.  As soon as we cannot work on our appointed project we start to worry that we are now afflicted with writer’s block.  The characters in our story no longer speak to us and somewhere along the way we may have lost the plot altogether.  Running outside for a round of gold or volleyball may help, but not always.

You may be wondering why the title of this post says that I do not believe in writer’s block. Simple…because I don’t.  Yeah I know, you saw that one coming.  Here is my theory.  Writer’s block is not really a block at all.  In fact, I believe it is a very beneficial thing for a writer.  I believe it our mind’s way of telling us that we are losing the track we are supposed to be on.  That we are fixating too much on something and missing an even greater opportunity.  I think writer’s block is also the way our brain tells us that it is overloaded.  There is simply too much going on and it is telling us that it can no longer have the freedom to be creative.

You have heard me mention freewriting a number of times in previous posts (possibly). Journaling can be equally helpful.  If you have tried to “push through” your writer’s block by just writing any old thing that comes to mind, you may have conquered the issue.  If that does not seem to work though, your brain may have a bigger message for you.  It can be completely subconscious, which is why freewriting is beneficial. Put the piece you are currently working on away, take out an actual pen/pencil and paper and just start writing.  It does not need to be of great literary quality, it can start out simply with a list of things that are on your mind.  It could be about the sun streaming in your window and how the dust motes seem to dance and swirl.  It can be anything, and should be anything that pops into your mind.  In fact, it works best if you try not to think and just let your hand move across the paper with anything that comes to mind.  Do not worry if it is appropriate, well-worded, or logical.  Feel the freedom! Write for at least five minutes, more if you want.

Once you are done freewriting, even though it may be embarrassing, reread what you just wrote.  You may be surprised that themes are popping up throughout the writing. See if those themes are anything you feel should (or maybe should not) be incorporated into your work.  Your mind could be working through a problem it perceives in your writing.  This helps sometimes with taking a step back and looking at your current work through different eyes.  Sometimes things are right in front of us, however, we are not able to see them because as writers we had everything planned out the way we wanted it.  We miss an interesting twist or the change of a character’s personality because we are too stuck on our own agenda.

Sometimes just the act of freewriting is all you need.  You may not get anything meaningful out of the content at all, but being able to take all the crazy subconscious thoughts running through your brain and spew them onto paper should (hopefully) leave more room for your creativity to breathe again. So, basically I believe that writer’s block is just your brain trying to deliver a message.  If we can interpret the message, I think our writing will be surprisingly enriched.

You might be wondering now, what does this have to do with the picture?  Well, it’s all about perspective.  Sometimes, everything around us seems dull, colorless and dead.  When we take a step back though, we see that there is a spot of color we had not noticed before, and then it will shine like a beacon to show us the path we need to take.


  1. Usually when I get writer’s block, it’s a sign for me to take a step back from writing, period, and move on to another creative endeavor so that my writing muscles can rest a while. So it’s usually burnout more than writer’s block, I guess.

    • I like the distinction there between writer’s block and burnout. At least you listen when your brain says to do something different. I think that is a good way deal with burnout. Thanks for posting!! 🙂

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