Writer’s Block Isn’t Real Except When We Want It to Be

If you look up “writer’s block,” you’ll probably get something like “the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing” (at least, according to Google). Generally summarized, it’s the brain dead moment when you look at the screen and go, “Uhhhhhh….”

The only problem with that definition is that most published authors will tell you that it’s bull – or at least, saying that you can’t write because of that condition is bull. Yes, you’ll have brain-dead, uninspired moments from time to time. If you’re as human as the rest of us, you’ll probably have them regularly. But (and this is a big but) if you force yourself to write anyway, it’ll clear up. While you may not get as much done as you do when you’re on fire with inspiration, you can still do a lot of writing. A lot of good writing, at that.

The only time writer’s block becomes an actual block is when we use it as a handy excuse.

Some people probably won’t agree with me, but I think writer’s block is more of an attitude problem than an imagination problem. It’s a mix between the pouty artist/child (I only work when I’m inspired) and the extreme procrastinator issue (I’m ready to…Wow. That’s a lot to do. You know what, I’m a bit tired right now. I’ll do a better job tomorrow.). It could even be a feeling of terror that you can’t actually write what you’re trying to write, and if you try, you’ll know you can’t. Whatever the reason, that uninspired feeling is the perfect excuse not to push past those issues.

The thing is, you won’t always want to write. You’ll want to have written: however, writing can be &/*^$# hard work. Some days, you may not be in the mood for hard work. You may be tired. You may be grouchy. You may be stressed about something else. Heck, you may have had a vacation and don’t want to start again.

Those are the days when writer’s block pops up its hideous head. If you grab it with both hands (“Oh, no. I can’t write today. I have writer’s block!”), then you won’t write. You won’t get anything done. And the next day, it’ll be even easier to blame writer’s block again.

That’s what makes writer’s block so dangerous. The longer you put off writing, the harder it is to start again. The harder it is to do it, the more you’ll want to use writer’s block as an excuse (and the more you’ll have that “uhhh” feeling). Once you’re caught in that catch 22, you have to really want to write to break out of it. You’ll have to really want to make more progress on your piece.

And isn’t that the point of not using excuses in the first place?


  1. […] heard me. The 5 worst excuses for not writing. And if you know my opinion of writer’s block, you may be wondering what qualifies as “worst.” (They’re all bad, right?) Well, […]

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