top of page

I've Got Writer's Block! What Do I Do Now?

6 Most Common Causes of Writer's Block and How to Breakthrough

Writer's Block! Every writer has heard about it. And while we can all get stuck, the mystique around it has become so foreboding that it stops many writers in their tracks.

This month's writing blog will delve into what Writer's Block is, why we can feel stuck, and most importantly, how we break through and move on.

Writer's Block

The Royal Literary Fund of England defines writer's block as "a temporary or lasting failure to put words on paper." It can affect every writer and yet is often overblown.

It is natural to get stuck sometimes. It happens to all writers. The key is two-fold:

  1. Understand why you feel this way

  2. Take steps to move on

Your Path Forward

Many reasons may contribute to your frustrations and your feeling of being stuck. It's helpful to diagnose your reason(s) and then pave your path forward.

  • Life gets in the way: Life is busy. Your day job can be demanding as well. No wonder it is hard to carve out the time you want for writing or to get into a writing rhythm.

Reassess your life. Recognize your priorities. Adjust your goals. It's important to find the right balance in your life. Sometimes writing may play a prominent role and other times you have to just squeeze in a bit around family and work. If you don't find that balance, you will break and writing will be just one of the items you will sacrifice.

  • Under pressure: Having deadlines can help motivate us in life, but too much pressure can be debilitating. Sometimes this comes from outside; eg, an editor or agent deadline; but most of the time the pressure comes from within. We want to have a routine. We want to write so many minutes or words at each sitting. But this pressure is not helpful. Writing should be fun and creative. Self-imposed random targets are draining and defeatist.

Relax. Yes, I would advocate allotting some specific time to writing. Maybe that is at 7am or 10pm, maybe it is two days a week or perhaps five. In any case, seek to incorporate writing into your routine. However, I'm not a big believer in aiming to write for a specific time or word count or pages. This places too much pressure on you. Enjoy the writing. Accept that some days you will sit and your creative juices will be flowing and you may look up and have written for hours and pages, and other days it's just a struggle from the start. Maybe you have other obligations on your mind. In any case, give yourself permission to walk away for a minute, an hour, a day, or more. I find taking a nice walk to be great medicine. I usually do this without music. Just me and my thoughts. Oftentimes I do work through my issues and I return later with renewed energy. It may be comforting to know that if you just average writing 10 pages three times a week, you would complete a 270-page manuscript in 9 weeks. Even 1 page a day for 9 months will leave you with a full manuscript. Relax, let it flow. Enjoy the ride.

  • Too many options: Oftentimes, you may feel you have too many options either for your next writing piece or book or for the path your book and its characters may take. So many options can grind your project to a halt.

Take a break from your project. Pick up another piece of paper. Jot down each option you are considering. Write a paragraph or more on each. What are you trying to do? What is holding you back from this option? Through this exercise, you can often decipher which project or path you have more material and more energy around. That is the path to pursue. Save the other material. You may likely find renewed energy for some of your other ideas later, but for now, you have a direction to focus upon.

  • No ideas: As opposed to the previous point, sometimes you may feel your mind is blank. You are indeed stuck. Where do you go from here?

Time can be very helpful in these situations. Put your writing aside for a few days or even weeks. Use the time to ponder what you may want to write about. Carry a small notebook around and jot down any ideas that pop into your head. You can detail them or discard them later. Read a book to get your creativity flowing. Often we write what we read, so spend some time in your home library or in your favorite genre at Either may get some ideas flowing.

  • Negative feedback: Any creative (writer, artist, musician, etc) gets feedback from others, whether solicited or not. Some may be kind, others blunt, and some downright brutal. This can certainly tend to stop us in our tracks. A creative's ego is generally a sensitive thing.

Feedback is an important component of successful writing but under the right circumstances. Initially, as covered in last month's posting on Getting Started, we are just trying to get our thoughts on paper. It will appear sloppy. That's okay. My first writing coach said, "Don't get it right, get it written." I remind myself of that every time I sit down. There will be time for editing and improvement but not at the beginning. Editing at an early stage thwarts creativity. So if someone reads the "vomit" you put down (again, my coach's words), they will be justifiably critical of it. I would not show such early work to anyone. After you have a chance to do one read-through and editing, you may share it with your writing group. Such a group understands where you are coming from. They can provide you with a good balance of positive and constructive criticism to help you in your ongoing editing journey. Don't let others, and more importantly yourself, get you down.

  • Impostor syndrome: Observing other writers/authors from a distance can leave us dejected. They seem to have themselves together, they are writing a lot or even seem to be selling a lot of books. You may start to wonder...what am I doing trying to write a book? I didn't go to school for this? You may even start to doubt your validity as a writer or even as a person. Our inner voice can be brutal sometimes, especially when we compare ourselves to other's shiny surfaces.

Don't be distracted by the shiny surface. You never know what angst or issues are going on below the surface. Set your own goals and expectations based on your own balance in your life. Review the Writing Themes we covered in the Overview blog.

Know that you are already a writer. Your best path toward being a successful writer is not to replicate others but to find your authentic voice, your own balance, your own aspirations, and then pursue them with vigor. A confident writer, albeit not overly so, is better positioned to manage the ups and downs because they have their own vision of success and the determination to get there.

Quick Recap:

  1. Find your balance

  2. Alleviate pressure

  3. Write when you feel it

  4. Breath...take breaks and let your thoughts simmer

  5. Read

  6. "Don't get it right, get it written!"

  7. Get a trusted coach and/or writing group

  8. Learn from others but filter based on your own goals

  9. Celebrate even your smallest milestones

  10. Vision and determination with a dose of patience will get you there


Take Our 3 Insightful Introvert Quizzes Today

Over 2500 people have taken our Strength, Leadership, or Phases Quizzes. Each provides unique insights into who you are and how you can accelerate your own journey.




Phases of Introversion

What phase are you in and how can you accelerate toward Contentment and Flourishing?

Introvert Talent (Superpowers)

What are your greatest introvert strengths and how can you use them at work, at home, and socially?

Leadership Style

Are you applying your strengths to be an authentic and confident leader?

Each quiz is quick, free, confidential, and includes instant results with helpful, customized insights just for YOU!


Don't Miss a Weekly Blog

Subscribe to BeyondIntroversion today and receive my FREE 100-page Booklet,

The Questions Introverts Ponder and The Answers Extroverts Need to Hear

Subscribers also get free access to quizzes, other resources, and a monthly newsletter. Don't worry, I never pass your email address to others, I don't send spam, and you can cancel anytime.

The Questions Introverts Ponder


The Answers Extroverts Need to Hear

Introversion often feels so alone; many assume no one else could feel this way. This book contains many of the questions that have been asked, often by introverts trying to understand this personality trait that can at times govern our lives.

I also hear from many introverts struggling to share their introversion with family, friends, and co-workers, either out of fear or just not having the words. This booklet can serve to educate others to understand better the many strengths and talents we have to share.

I hope you will find this booklet an informative read and reference book with a splash of light-heartedness and inspiration as well. I invite you to start with the questions you are most curious about and share them from there.



We continue our Keys to '23 and our dive into common introvert strengths. Next week will cover Creativity. Some people may define themselves as creative but many others don't consider it a strength at all. Yet we are all creative, we may just need to delve into it a bit more to find our creative side. Once we do, creativity can be one of an introvert's best friends!


bottom of page