How to deal with writer’s block

I have a theory about writer’s block.kaweco pen heaven fountain pen review

**blog readers scatter at the advancing onslaught of one of Joanne’s Theories About Stuff**

Oi, come back you lot, this is a good one.  It goes like this:

There are 3 main phases when you do any piece of writing, and you will play a different role at each stage:

1. The Writer – when you physically write the words down on paper or computer screen.  If you’re having trouble expressing yourself, it’s a good idea to speak out loud what you intend to say before you write it.
2. The Editor – when you improve on the writing you’ve done in stage 1.  You correct grammar or spelling mistakes, rewrite, fill in missing bits and move text around as you make your writing as hunkydory as possible.
3. The Critic – When you evaluate the finished work and see what could make it better.  If necessary go back to Stage 1 or 2 when you see something that could be improved.  This stage can also involve getting feedback from others.

If possible put your writing aside for 24 hours between each stage if you have the time – that way you come back to it with fresh eyes.  This may not be practical if you’re on deadline, but at the very least give it a cup of tea space between each stage.

What tends to paralyse people is that they often start at Stage 3 (The Critic) before they’ve even written a word and start imagining things like “What if it’s no good?”  “What if people think it’s terrible?” and “Good grief I am the worst writer in existence”.  Of course they never think of positive criticism or even the possibility of a good review.  Where’s the fun in that?

If you stay a critic without being a writer then you give yourself no space to improve.  Bypassing writer mode and staying in critic mode is one of the major causes of writer’s block.

If you really feel stuck and can’t think of what to write next, give your mind a rest by doing something physical:  go for a walk, visit the gym, do some gardening or bake a cake.  Anything to engage you physically and give your mind space to create.  Set the intention that you will return to your writing with a clear sense of what needs to happen next and you’ll get it.


For more information about specialist media career coaching and how it can help you as a writer, take a look at my media coaching site here.