Don’t Fear Writer’s Block

All writers experience those dreaded periods of not being able to write. We wander around the house, not knowing what to do, berating ourselves for not writing, depressed because we haven’t written for days, weeks, months. We fill the hours we could be writing with coffee, friends, gardening, even visits to the dentist, anything but writing.

Suppose, just suppose, that this ‘nothing’ time is actually a crucial and natural part of the writing process.

Recently I picked up a book about writing and found a whole chapter dedicated to fears that beset writers. Fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of not being good enough, fear of exposing ourselves, fear of only having one book, fear of hard work, and the list went on and on.

There can be no doubt these fears are very real, and crippling if we give into them.

But what if, instead of wallowing in fear, we savoured this time of doing nothing? If we used it to regroup, to immerse ourselves in the multifaceted illuminous world on the other side of our desk. If we allowed ourselves that time to observe in luxurious detail people and objects which make up our world.

In this free space we could dissect the riot of sensations and thoughts we experience, and in reassembling them discover the world anew.

Perhaps we need this hiatus to replenish and rejuvenate our whole self so, with a rekindled sense of purpose, we can even better transform our lived life into art on the page.

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8 Responses to Don’t Fear Writer’s Block

  1. Margaret jackson says:

    Karen what a wonderful thought — Turn a negative into a positive and enrich your creativity at the same time. Beating yourself up about not having any writing ideas just stifles the writer in us and YES sometimes ‘we need to replenish and rejuvenate our whole self’. We should listen to our wise inner self and nurture not criticize. A BIG thank you for this post Karen.

  2. Maree says:

    Hi Karen,

    It’s good to know that fear and writers block happen to most of us. Probably just a natural part of creative thinking. Your post reminded me of a piece I read a while ago from an author (her name escapes me) who spoke of the same fear and block that you have described. Sick and tired or berating herself for lack of ideas, she turned her interest and energy to furniture restoration. From that she discovered new ideas and passions. She was able to resume her writing with a renewed energy and a fresh outlook.

    Personally, I find walking by myself along the beach or immersing myself in nature works wonders for my creative thoughts.


    • That’s a great story, Maree. Thank you. I’ve taken up photography again recently and it’s offering some wonderful new possiblities for my writing. By the way, the beach sparkled this morning. Karen

  3. pishnguyen says:

    Oh, I absolutely fell in love with this post. I have been struggling with emotional and mental blocks on my writing for a long and exhausting time. And, really, I think this post was something I needed to read. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  4. Diana Threlfo says:

    Karen, your views on this topic make excellent sense. Imagine if the creative impulse never rested…I’m not sure my mind would cope if it was constantly bombarded with ideas, thoughts, and inspiration for writing projects, in addition to all the other matters it needs to ponder! Balance and moderation serve us well.

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