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19 Tips On Overcoming Writer’s Block From Famous Authors

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So I’m still working on the rewrite from Hell and God knows I’ve needed some inspiration lately, especially when I’ve been STARING INTO THE ABYSS OF NOTHINGNESS and feeling the claws of DARK PANIC clawing my chest … Okay so I’m exaggerating. Or am I?!?!?

Well, if you’ve been feeling the familiar lull of writer’s block, you’ll relate to some of these guys … I know I do. Enjoy!

1) Philip Pullman

“Writer’s block is a condition that affects amateurs and people who aren’t serious about writing. So is the opposite, namely inspiration, which amateurs are also very fond of. Putting it another way: a professional writer is someone who writes just as well when they’re not inspired as when they are.”

2) Rebecca Jane

“Over analysis leads to paralysis”

3) Barbara Kingsolver

“I learned to produce whether I wanted to or not. It would be easy to say “oh, I have writer’s block, oh, I have to wait for my muse”. I don’t. Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done.”

4) Jacob Nordby

“Writer’s block is just another name for fear.”

5) Erica Jong

“All writing problems are psychological problems. Blocks usually stem from the fear of being judged. If you imagine the world listening, you’ll never write a line. That’s why privacy is so important. You should write first drafts as if they will never be shown to anyone.”

6) Ray Bradbury

“If you’ve got a writer’s block, you can cure it this evening by stopping whatever you’re writing and doing something else. You picked the wrong subject.”

7) Charles Bukowski

“Writing about writer’s block is better than not writing at all.”

8) Ernest Hemingway

“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck.”

9) Mark Twain

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

10) Dave Horowitz

“To get over artist’s block, make shitty art.”

11) Hilary Mantel 

“If you get stuck, get away from your desk. Take a walk, take a bath, go to sleep, make a pie, draw, listen to ­music, meditate, exercise; whatever you do, don’t just stick there scowling at the problem. But don’t make telephone calls or go to a party; if you do, other people’s words will pour in where your lost words should be. Open a gap for them, create a space. Be patient.”

12) Ryan Lilly

“Stop waiting for creative inspiration. Start creating and inspire yourself along the way.”

13) Malcolm Gladwell

“The solution is never to sit down and imagine that you will achieve something magical and magnificent. I write a little bit, almost every day, and if it results in two or three or (on a good day) four good paragraphs, I consider myself a lucky man. Never try to be the hare. All hail the tortoise.”

14) Candace Bushnell

“Why do I keep evading my work? Is it because I’m afraid of being confronted by my lack of abilities?”

15) Maya Angelou

“What I try to do is write … And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’

16) Rob Bignell

“Every word I write is another stroke that takes me to the shore of a completed book.”

17) James Thurber

“Don’t get it right, just get it written.”

18) William Faulkner

“I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.”

19) Margaret Atwood

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”

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6 thoughts on “19 Tips On Overcoming Writer’s Block From Famous Authors”

  1. Interesting observations. I’m a commissioned and optioned screenwriter in the middle of a writer’s block right now. But for me, writer’s “block” is never staring at a blank screen, feeling fear, thinking I’m not good enough, not knowing what happens next. For me, writer’s “block” is a struggle for inspiration to just get the fingers back on the keyboard and typing! It’s a lack of functional inspiration, not creative inspiration, and happens usually when I’m writing on spec, as I am at this time. (A pending deadline on a commissioned gig usually prevents this!) Call it block, restlessness, depression,,, I don’t know. Like other blocks, I do think it’s psychological. I think it has to do with things happening (or not happening) in other areas of my life. (aka “balance’). Any thoughts?

    1. Totally agree Michael … I think writer’s block is mainly fear, not necessarily OF writing, but often a lack of self esteem.

      1. Probably so, at one level or another. I do know this current case of “block” happened after a recent rejection of another spec script of mine by a literary agent. As a working creative in this business, I’ve learned to live with rejection, at least consciously, but subconsciously, who knows. But I’ll break out of my funk and finish my script, which, as a work in progress, I’m most happy with.

  2. I came up with this cool pitch for a comic book idea I have about 5 months ago. I really dove into it in prep for the creator’s club meeting at a local comic book store. I felt it came out pretty good, very good actually. I wanted to hook up with an artist, But at the meeting I learned ALL of the artist members there were already working on either their own or other projects. I decided I’d do the art chores myself. I guess my real problem is being or allowing myself to become overwhelmed with all the intricate and somewhat complex aspects of creating the foundation of the world of story and characters. I think even a tiny bit of work on a character relationship map shut me down.

    I believe “writer’s block” IS psychological and I guess I really do just need to map out the little steps and then just accomplish each step, step by step until the ultimate goal is achieved.

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