The Myth of Writer’s Block

“When she got back from taking Cassie to school Fanny knew that she ought to be working on her new wilderness romance. She had promised 30,000 words to her editor by tomorrow and she had written only eleven.”  Jacklyn Moriarty

How do you get over writer’s block? If I had a dime for every time I’ve been asked this question, I could buy that beach house I’ve had my eye on for a while. Usually the question comes from a beginning writer still seeking that first contract. Here’s what I think: except in cases in which an author is suffering from clinical depression, writer’s block is a myth.  Most often writers are stumped (“blocked” )  because of one or  two things:

Inadequate planning. Stories stall when an author has not adequately answered the questions about her protagonists’ goals, motivations, and conflicts. What does your main character need to tell the world? What is the story’s moral premise? Read Stan Williams’ excellent book on moral premise, or check out his blog . Once you understand the core of your story, your writing will  move forward.

Too many distractions. Studies show that every time a person is distracted from a task, it takes 15 minutes to refocus. Turn off your e-mail,  Facebook, Twitter until your work for the day is done. Take a break every hour or so to rest your eyes and get the kinks out of your spine. Pay attention to your health. Get enough sleep. Eat right. Too  much caffeine and too  many refined carbs and sugars can make you sleepy. Although I can’t work  when music is playing, some people find that instrumental music helps them stay focused.

What about  you? How to do you keep the words flowing?


2 thoughts on “The Myth of Writer’s Block

  1. Susan Karsten

    So glad I came to your coffee pot! You have some of the most intriguing posts that I become aware of thru ACFW and I hope you keep them coming.
    I tend to agree with Coats’s rules. At least they are a good starting point for developing one’s personal style/philosphy. Thanks!

    1. dorothy Post author

      Hi Susan! thanks for checking in. Glad you enjoy the content here. I’ve been on vacation, but will be back to posting this weekend. Stop by anytime.


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