Ask a Writer Blog Series: Writer’s Block

Got a question for the panel? Tweet it to me or click “leave a reply.”

This week: How do you deal with writer’s block?

David K. Hulegaard, author of the Noble series, Strangers

Always know where you’re headed before you even write the first word. If you think through your story carefully, and create a detailed outline to follow, then writer’s block should never become an issue. That said, if you ever do find yourself struggling to make progress, put down your project and start writing something else. Anything else. It doesn’t matter. Exercise your brain. Keep your mind stimulated and your creative juices flowing. After some time away, you should be able to jump right back into your primary project with a fresh perspective and new ideas.

Bernard Schaffer, author of the Superbia, Guns of Seneca 6, and Grendel Unit series

Writer’s block is a waste of time for serious authors who should be focusing on growing their body of work. It’s meaningless self-gratification. It’s a distraction that should be avoided like bushes of poison ivy. It’s emptier than a classroom of students interested in exploring the underlying depths to Michael Bay movies. To be perfectly blunt: it am dumb.

Wait, you said writer’s block? I was talking about blogging.

I don’t believe in either one.

Tony Healey, author of the Far From Home and Fallen Crown series

Writer’s block is an excuse. A way of saying, “I can’t be bothered,” and making it look like you have a head cold. Everyone who believes in such a mystery flu has their own remedy: “Go for long walks!” “Give yourself time out!” or “Here Are My Top Ten Tips for Beating Dreaded Writer’s Block!”

There is no such thing. If you’ve run out of gas, you’re burned out . . . it’s not writers block. You’re just bloody tired. Have a rest. Don’t do any writing for a few weeks. Watch some TV. Writer’s block is not to be confused with “I’ve run out of ideas”. To be frank, if the latter applies to you, then you have no business writing in the first place.

Everyone is a veritable fountain of ideas, of creativity. Nobody dries up. Even if you find yourself playing with the same motifs, the same themes, the same character archetypes . . . it’s all jazz. That’s what writing is: pulling stuff out of thin air, laying it down on paper, getting it to a point where you’re happy with it, and moving on to the next best thing. You don’t say “I’ve got Writer’s Block”, you say “I’m tired”.

You rest, then you come back and give it your all. And probably you’ll get tired again. That’s the nature of the beast, my friend. That’s the result of putting so much of your heart into making the smoothest jazz ever heard. And thank the maker you did.

William Vitka, author of the Hroza Connection and The Bartender series

Writer’s block is utter crap. It’s the literary equivalent of self-diagnosing yourself with Asperger syndrome to explain your shitty, anti-social behavior. If you are stricken with a case of ‘I can’t write,’ then write something anyway. Chances are, you’ll fall into the flow again. It’s almost like muscle memory. Don’t over-think it.

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