The Writer’s Block – tips for smashing through your blocks

Writers are writers because they write.  Sounds simple enough, but the reality is they write because they can’t not write.  It begins in many different ways…a diary, journal, maybe a short poem, eventually leading to the realization that one is a writer.   

Hitting a creative block is frustrating territory for a writer.  I have known fellow writers to stop writing for months because they were overwhelmed by their inability to move their story forward.  Why they are stuck is not as important as a willingness to jump back in. If you are experiencing a creative block try one of the following strategies.

1.     Natalie Goldberg suggests scheduling daily timed writing practices where you keep your pen moving as a way to develop your writing muscle.  I don’t engage in daily timed writing but I have found that this technique helps me break through blocks when I’m feeling stuck.  It’s simple…when the timer starts you begin writing and keep the pen moving.  Start with a 10 minute session. Eventually increase to 40 minutes if possible.  I have done this practice where I end of up with three pages of gibberish:
“This is stupid I can’t think of anything, I’m stuck…stuck…stuck. I’m soooooo frustrated.  I don’t know where this character is going…blah blah blah. I don’t like doing this. What is the point?  I’m moving my pen but going nowhere. This story is really stuck…nothing..nothing..nothing..” 

Eventually at about the 8 minute mark something sneaks through my mental chatter and I am writing and don’t want to stop.  For me, the trick is in keeping the pen moving.  If I stop the pen then my mind says “I don’t know what to write” and the page remains blank.

2.     E.B. White said, “Write about it by day, and dream about it by night.”  When struggling on the direction of a piece or how to end a story, trying using your dream state to nudge your work along.  Put a notebook next to your bed and climb into bed.  Then, write down the issue you’re struggling with.  Close the notebook, ask the universe to help you discover the answer and go to sleep.  When you wake up before you climb out of bed, write down your first thoughts.  Try this for at least a week or until you unlock your block.

If allowed to grow, writer’s block can fester and became a wound so big it kills a manuscript.  Before that happens, I use one of these strategies to push through.  What do you do when you are feeling stuck? 

Mary Jo Guglielmo is an intuitive life strategist that helps clients push through their blocks, envision their path and take the necessary action to live their true north. For more information check out


Aileen said...

Thanks for the great suggestions, Mary Jo. I love your strategy of working with the dream state and will be sure to experiment with it.

Nancy Famolari said...

Great suggestions. Enjoyed your post.

Karen Cioffi said...

Great tips for breaking through writers block. I haven't experienced it (yet - fingers, toes, eyes, arms and legs crossed :)), but I've read tips very similar - just write, even if without thought or purpose.

Donna McDine said...

Terrific tips! We must not let negative thoughts get in our away.

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Anne Duguid Knol said...

I like the dream state suggestion too. But mostly I just try to battle away and write rubbish till something gives.

Heidiwriter said...

Great tips! Another thing is give yourself permission to write a scene out of order. If you know what you want to write about sometime in the future but you don't know how to get there from where you left off now, go ahead and write that scene. Sometimes that'll give you a clue of what you need to do to fill in between.

Magdalena Ball said...

Very good tips from two masters. I've used both of these and they've worked brilliantly for me in the past. Natalie is like a mentor to me (Writing Down the Bones is excellent), but White's tip is also a good one, suggesting that the subconcious is a key enabler to writing. Even if you just write a few words of that long term project, the sleeping mind will help move your forward.

Magdalena Ball

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