How to Cure Writer’s Block

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Guest Blogger: Ellis Shuman

There is a disease that frequently strikes authors and writers and which occasionally may appear to be incurable.  A cerebral blockage prevents ideas from making their way via cortical and sub-cortical networks over a large part of the brain to a person’s hand and finger muscles, where said ideas can be transferred via mechanical devices such as pens and keyboards to paper and/or computer hard discs. This disease is commonly known as Writer’s Block.

Merriam-Webster defines Writer’s Block as “the problem of not being able to think of something to write about or not being able to finish writing a story, poem, etc.”

I like my definition of the medical condition better. And now, I can happily report, a cure for this disease has been found.

The 12 Step Approach

On The Creative Penn website, BookBaby marketing coordinator Chris Robley lays out a 12-step cure for Writer’s Block, one that stops just short of suggesting that an experienced author sponsor the writer suffering from creative deficiency. One of Robley’s 12 steps is simply: “Write every single day.” That’s a simple task easily handled by writers who don’t suffer from writer’s block. How does one who is blocked from writing manage to accomplish that step?

Curse like a Sailor

Meanwhile, the Boost Blog Traffic website posted a list of “27 Wacky Ways to Beat Writer’s Block” and that list includes the following suggestions:

** Curse like a sailor

** Wash the dishes

** Goof around on Facebook

** Steal ideas

“Writing is hard work. There’s no doubt about that,” author Henneke Duistermaat stresses in the article, which includes some serious suggestions as well. “Experiment. Find out what works for you. Write where and when you like. Be as crazy as you like to be,” he writes.

Write about Writer’s Block

The Velvet Blues website lists 36 ways to cure Writer’s Block. This is getting serious now, as we previously had 12 steps, and then 27 wacky ways, and now “36 Things to Do When Your Brain Is Empty”.

I particularly like the 13th item in their list, which suggests: “Write about writer’s block.” Hey, that’s them talking, not me!

And, “if all else fails, blow off some steam,” that website suggests. “Stomp. Scream. Toss your insured electronics at the wall. And pull your hair…”

Don’t blame me for any damage caused to your home or health after following their advice.

And the Cure for Writer’s Block is…

Evolutionary psychologist Nigel Barber, Ph.D., offers a solution to our common medical affliction in an article he wrote for Psychology Today.

“The cure for writer’s block is also the solution for procrastination – and perfectionism,” he writes. “There really is no good reason for postponing the start of your magnum opus. There is every reason for beginning right away.”

Meaning, don’t expect what you manage to put down on paper (or on the computer) to be perfect. It’s just a start and can be perfected later.

“Knowing that what emerges may not be perfect, it is nevertheless worth filling some of that blank screen with words. The rough approximation can later be refined and improved.”

That’s certainly a better cure for Writer’s Block than cursing like a sailor or throwing a tantrum.

What about you? How do you fight off the symptoms of dreaded Writer’s Block?


The article was first published in  Ellis Shuman Writes


About the Writer


Ellis Shuman is an Israeli author and  book reviewer who lives near Jerusalem. Born in the United States,  his articles, book reviews, social media tips, have appeared in The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, The Oslo Times, eTramping, Global Grasshopper, and many other media sites. He is also the author of Valley of Thracians, a suspense novel set in Bulgaria.

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