Dealing with Writer’s Block

Tonks doesn't know what writer's block is, but she thinks that if you're not going to tap on your magic glowing box, you might as well pet her.
Tonks doesn’t know what writer’s block is, but she thinks that if you’re not going to tap on your magic glowing box, you might as well pet her.


Ugh. Writer’s block. Out of all the things writers talk about, writer’s block may be the most-discussed topic. Some authors swear up and down that writer’s block doesn’t exist. (Seriously: Google “writer’s block isn’t real” and you’ll get about 2,320,000 results.) Those writers insist that you just need to power through it and keep writing anyway. Sometimes that method works — like when I’m tempted to scroll through Instagram instead of write. But there are days when the words just aren’t coming, and all my ideas seem terrible. People can argue about whether writer’s block is a “real thing” or not, but that doesn’t help me much when I’m stuck.


I tend to agree with Ray Bradbury’s idea that writer’s block is caused by writing about the wrong thing. Most of the time, if I’m feeling stuck on something, it’s because I’m writing what I “should” write or I “have to” write. When that happens, I just move on to something I do want to write about. Sometimes it’s a blog post, or a scene 5 chapters ahead, but it’s usually enough to jog my brain. (If you’re working on an assignment/ work project, maybe free writing for a bit could do the same thing?)


But when I’m really, really stuck, I’ve learned that it’s better if I don’t stress about it. I try to write something every day, even if it’s just 100 words. But when I’m done, I try to focus on things that a) are fun, and b) refill the creative part of my brain. This week I tried to read, or doodle, or online window shop for my future apartment. And then when I sat down to write on Friday, somehow the words came easier.


Do you ever have writer’s block? (Or creative block if you’re not a writer?) How do you deal with it? Shoko Wanger wrote a piece about writer’s block that I LOVED, so if you’re in the middle of a slump, I definitely recommend it. (Or you can bookmark it for the next time you’re feeling stuck.)

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