Monday, September 15, 2014

Writers’ Block is Not the Flu
From time to time, every writer contracts a case of Writers’ Block. But Writers’ Block is not a disease, something that you “catch” that will go away after you pamper yourself, take Vitamin C, and postpone activity until it’s over. Writer’s Block is really just another name for fear.

This doesn’t mean Writers’ Block isn’t real – of course it is. Writers’ Block is like a boulder damming up a flowing river. The boulder is real. The water can’t flow smoothly until something is done about that boulder. You have to move it or find a way around it.

In other words, you have to do some work. We want things to be easy. We think if our writing flows easily, it must be “right”, or if you are spiritually inclined, even god-directed. And if we are having trouble, if we have to write the same paragraph twelve times over, that somehow means the writing is not as good, that we’re doing something wrong, that maybe it’s not “meant to be.”

This is not necessarily true. Not everything good comes easily. Writing is work, and sometimes work is hard. Moving the boulders means you might sweat. Dredging a new channel for the river means it might take a long time and you’ll have to deal with aches and pains. 

So if you’ve got Writers’ Block, get to work. Write anyway, even if what you write is stupid or dull. Stupid and dull are simply boulders you’ve thrown into your own river. There’s always a way to deal with the boulders. It’s your job to find it.

Hint: Going back to bed and taking Vitamin C is not it. I know, because I’ve tried it. 

Kim Pearson is an author, ghostwriter, and owner of Primary Sources, a writing service that helps others become authors of professional and compelling books and articles. She has authored 8 books of her own, and ghostwritten more than 40 non-fiction books and memoirs. To learn more about her books or services, visit


  1. I've never suffered from writers' block, at least, I don't think I have. That may seem like an odd statement, but what I mean is that I generally have no problem writing on a daily basis. But I recognise that sometimes what I've written is rubbish. Because I write as a pantster, getting the story down to the very end before I ever edit, I don't revisit the previous day's writing until I've completed the entire project. This means I have to do a fair amount of editing when I start that process, and that the editing can take almost as long as the initial creation sometimes.
    But it does mean I'm never faced with that blank sheet/screen. I write whatever words come into my head, even repeating a phrase if necessary, until the words begin to flow.
    I don't know if this will help others who do suffer, but I hope so. I suspect it's a problem that afflicts those who seek perfection before moving on much more than it does those of us who get the story down first and then seek perfection.
    Another interesting post, Kim. Thank you.

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    1. Love the analogy of the boulder in the river! This is a great piece, Kim. The Vitamin C/bed rest regimen hasn't worked for me either. That means it's time to get the old writing nose back to the grindstone. :-)

      Sorry for the deletion and reposting. I automatically put a "t" on regimen...which, of course changed the meaning. And several proofreadings didn't catch it. However, when I returned to BRP just now, I saw it immediately. Ooooops...editors are supposed to catch these things.

  3. There are many reasons for writer's block. The important thing is to keep writing something, anything. Short breaks can help if you use them to cross-train your creative side. For me it helps to read a book by a brillian author, which reminds me of why I wanted to write in the first place.

  4. Tiny daily goals worked for me: a minimum of 100 words every single day. 100 words is easy, and once you've started, you may as well keep going. And even if it was a crazy day and 10PM before I sat down in front of the computer, I would usually think, "I might as well just see if I can get 100 words down quickly before I shut down for the night."


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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