Bust Writer’s Block

Having writer’s block is a luxury. Don’t get me wrong, it’s real, and it can be a problem. But if writing is only your hobby, you can allow yourself to indulge in the idleness of writer’s block. You can afford to take the time to do writing exercises and to spend long, pensive moments looking for inspiration that will shatter your blockage.

But when you have to get this blog post done in 30 minutes flat so you can move on to the giant batch of materials you owe that client, writer’s block doesn’t exist. Instead, you’re functioning in a world of action and reaction: Research. Write. Edit. Send. Repeat. It’s not easy, but it’s simple. As part of my day job, I suffer from writer’s block maybe once every six months. I give myself a pep talk, take a walk around the block and get my fingers back on the keyboard within 15 minutes. And something always, always comes out.

Ironically, it’s when I try to write something to keep for myself that I run into the biggest problems with writer’s block. There’s always a reason to put off writing for yourself: pressures at home or work, exhaustion or a plain old lack of ideas. We always find excuses to keep our true selves pent up and off the page. Maybe we’re secretly afraid of what we’ll find there, or we’re afraid of failure. I suspect everyone’s reasons are different.

So how do you deal? You force yourself to write. You don’t accept no for an answer. You sit your butt down in the chair and you don’t get up until you’ve written your daily allotment. That might be a thousand words on your novel or a 250 word blog post—the length doesn’t matter. Neither does the quality. If you bang out your daily allotment, even if 90 percent of it is garbage, you’ll find ten percent that you can take and polish and make shine. Some days you won’t want to do it; maybe even most days you’ll dread staring at that blank white page. But if you have the discipline, you’ll find that writer’s block only exists if you let it.

Since 2012 began, I’ve written at least 1,000 words a day, six days a week. No, you can’t see it. It’s not for you. But it helps me remember who I am and why I do what I do, and why writer’s block will never, ever slow me down.

About the Author
Allison Carter (@AllisonLCarter)

Allison is the director of communications at Roundpeg, an Indianapolis small business marketing firm. She spends her days writing, exploring the world of social media and providing marketing advice, and her nights reading, writing, traveling and herding cats.