The Mythical Existence of Writer’s Block

Writer’s block debates seem to come in waves. Lots of arguing about the existence of this apparently mythical psychological state that always ends up bringing out this statement: It doesn’t exist, only weak writers give in to writer’s block!

That one makes me want to scream.

Whether or not you call it writer’s block, I claim it does exist. And I’d go so far to say this mythical beast comes in different breeds:

  • Inadequacy – This is the kind of writer’s block you push through. “But my words suck, but no one cares, but, but, but!” No buts. Or butts, please. Only words. (If your words include butts, they count.) This beast may look big and scary, but is the easiest to conquer—you just have to face it first. This article has a a lot of good advice for knocking this one out.
  • Stuck – This is a toss-up. For me, personally, I need to write through it, because I normally find where I need to go by forcing the absolute worst thing to happen (setting people on fire is a favorite). Some people need to stop, sit, and plot, though. For others, this means they need to go back and edit. Learn how you work, and don’t let this one stop you—even if you aren’t writing words, keep moving forward. This beast is a little grisly, but may end up being an ally in the end. Maggie Stiefvater just posted a great graphic (and another version) of navigating the twists and turns of this battle.
  • Emotional Constipation – Oh, this writer’s block. This is the one that knocks you off your feet when your personal life explodes, or the publishing industry destroys you. It would be so nice if writing could only be a work of love, some magical process that’s entirely rainbows and unicorn poop and catharsis. But, if you’re like me, the greatest reward to writing is having others reading your work. Which adds that lovely, stifling expectation to every word you write. And of course any additional stressors in your life love to add on to it. For this one, I have no answer on how to get right through it. This is the one I feel is the most mythical, evil being of them all, gross and rotting and dripping and oozing with doubt and insecurities. You can try stabbing and punching and screaming at this one, but sometimes it refuses to move off your words, hoarding them just out of reach. And that’s okay. You’re a human (I assume). Sometimes you need to take a break and re-focus, re-charge. Then come back and stab that sucker through the eye socket.

What about you guys? Do you believe in the fabled create called writer’s block? Do you think my list needs to be longer? Wanna share your battle scars?

Bacon, out.

34 thoughts on “The Mythical Existence of Writer’s Block

  1. I didn’t know there are people who claim writer’s block is a myth – are these people writers? My personal demon is evoked from a lack of conviction in the scene I’m developing or sometimes even the idea that I have the scene down pat so will get to it later. So basically when doubt or cockiness is supported by my laziness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow — simply expressed, the full-on terror and battle of writer’s block. Not sure that I believe in writer’s block (think it maybe be much, much bigger than that, such as living your life block), but there definitely is something beastly, boorish, and strange mucking about!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t doubt writer’s block exists, but to be honest, I have never given much thought. I think my personality makes me view times when it is difficult to write as a challenge I have to overcome, and I just push through. However, writers are so diverse. We are all going to experience different challenges and deal with them in different ways. The important thing is just not to give up. Thanks for providing insight into your struggles and for not giving up!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For me, the only times I can’t write (as opposed to the many times when I can’t be arsed to write at a particular period in time) are when I am not in love with the story — when I don’t believe the story will be any good and people will want to read it.

    Usually I put that story idea away for a while and move on to something else. Sometimes I come back to the story with a fresh perspective and new ideas on where to take it. Sometimes I don’t.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Writer’s block is totally a thing! For me, it manifests as writer’s block on specific projects. For example, I’m hopelessly stalled on continuing my NaNoWriMo draft from this past year (I think I’m just stuck, or have found a different Block Beast in “Loss of Momentum”), but I am totally jazzed for a different WIP.

    Great post! I love the image of imagining writer’s block as a series of beasts to slay :)


  6. I absolutely do believe in writer’s block, and I agree, it has many different names and faces, but none of them are pleasant! Fighting through them is the only method I’ve found to really beat it. It’s not perfect, but it keeps the words coming (sometimes much slower than others lol).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. For me, if I’m stuck I just start writing. I put my character somewhere, introduce another character and see what happens. The first words are usually lame, but I keep going. Then, things start to appear and get better. I don’t know why, but this works for me :)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Usually when I hit writer’s block, I’ve written my characters into a hole and have no idea how to rescue them, or I’ve gone too far the other way and there’s not enough conflict and I’ve lost interest in the story.

    Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Writers block is real :) (we should make that a # if there isn’t one already!)
    The worst kind for me is the feeling of inadequacy, because it sometimes pops up out of nowhere just to tell me that I suck. I find that I just have to take a deep breath and power through it. Once I ignore the demon for a little while, it tends to get bored and go away!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think I’ve encountered all three of these at one time or another. The first is the most common, thanks to periodic attacks of negativity. The second I deal with usually by switching to writing something different for a few days and letting it work it’s way out. I haven’t had to set anyone on fire. Yet.
    As for the third, I think moving from the U.K. to the U.S. and getting married in the space of a week was a pretty big upheaval, although it did take me a while to get back to it. Thanks for the post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You know me, I’m a categories kinda gal, and so the fact that you’ve categorized the different types of writer’s blocks, *touches fingers to lips and kisses them* Bravo! Now I can better visualize which stuck I’m in. After Nanowrimo, it was number two, and I did go back and edit, and only then did I feel strong enough about my MS to continue on and finish it. Thank you for this excellent contribution to the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. I am off to pin and schedule a Facebook post for this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh gosh, thank you!!! I’ve had this post banging around in my head for awhile but have been too lazy to put it together, so thank you for starting the hop! :D I always find that people who say writer’s block doesn’t exist doesn’t grasp that the term doesn’t mean exactly the same thing to everyone, so hopefully these categories help others, too.


  12. Writer’s Block loves me and refuses to acknowledge that I don’t love it back. But I fight it by reading, listening to music, and journaling. If those three methods fail me, I sleep.

    Thanks for the great advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, thank you for this! I don’t believe in writer’s block at all, even if there are months before new words happen. In addition to your list, I’d add an addendum to “stuck”: Stewing. Stewing is when you’re not quite “stuck” but the idea hasn’t fully gelled. You could move on, but you don’t, because the scene being stewed is too important/could change everything. It’s important, while stewing, to keep the scene in question active in the brain (with journaling or building aesthetics or whatever), but trust the brain. Art takes time, and some answers need space to grow. Calling such times a “block” is dangerous and debilitating.


  14. Oh, I’ve gotten stuck, and it’s excruciating! I know the next event that NEEDS to happen, and who NEEDS to be there, but how to get the happening and the people together at once? I’ve rewritten scenes half a dozen times to figure out how to move through the piddly stuff and can FINALLY move to the good stuff. :)

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.