Writer’s Block

Writing Hurdles

“For writers, a block is not a block is not a block.  Blocks come in all shapes and sizes.” – Rachel Ballon.

I’m reading the “Writer’s Portable Therapist” by Rachel Ballon.  She talks about writer’s block, explaining that it is different for every writer.  She suggests you find the roots of your own block.

Possible sources of a block:

  • Lack of skills or knowledge
  • Fear of failure
  • distraction
  • emotional or financial stress

I realized with my own project, I was dragging my feet because if I finish it, I have to send it out.  If I send it out, I could get rejected.  If I get rejected, then I’m no good as a person.  It seems silly now that I’m writing it out.  Rejection has nothing to do with my self worth.  It just means that my book didn’t make the cut at that publisher or agent, and I should try the next place while working on my next book, continuing to learn and grow.  I also needed to work on time management, making sure I had time for goofing off as well as time for writing, so that I recharged my batteries.


Breaking through a block:

  • Acknowledge your fears.  Sit down and write out exactly what you fear is going to happen.  It’s hard to reassure yourself if you don’t know what is really causing your anxiety.
  •  Break it down into baby steps.  Instead of thinking of a finished project, think in terms of writing for a certain amount of time each day, a word quota or a chapter rewrite.
  • Do a warm-up.  Do a writing exercise before working on your project that reconnects you with your joy in writing.
  • Have a transition ritual.  Set up your writing area, have a cup of tea, read a short writing article.
  • If your biggest fear is that you will never be accepted, read “Rotten Reviews” by Bill Henderson .  Every writer, no matter how famous, was rejected, sometimes with extreme prejudice.  Getting published is a matter of finding the right match, which means finding a lot of wrong matches (target your submissions, of course!).



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