Episode 032 – Overcoming Writer’s Block

This week I’m going toe-to-toe with those in the writing community who claim that they “don’t believe in” writer’s block. I’m here to let you know that writer’s block is genuine and you are not at fault for experiencing it.

Once we’ve accepted that, how can we overcome it? Listen or read on to find out my top tips.

I hope you find this episode inspiring and helpful.

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Infographic summarising main points of article. Text reads:
Overcoming Writer's Block
Accept writer's block as part of the process
Change environment or writing methods
Set small goals to start writing
Try freewriting or prompts
Discuss work with others for new ideas
Remember the story's purpose to overcome anxiety

Listen now wherever you stream podcasts.


Welcome to Writer Roadmap, the podcast for writers seeking inspiration, guidance, and support on their creative journey. I’m your host, Holly Lyne. Today, we’re tackling a topic that many claim doesn’t exist, yet countless writers, including some of the most celebrated names in literature, have struggled with it. Yes, I’m talking about writer’s block. It’s real, it’s frustrating, and saying otherwise only belittles the experiences of many talented writers. But fear not—today isn’t about dwelling on the problem; it’s about finding solutions. Let’s dive into understanding writer’s block and uncovering ways to get unstuck.

Writer’s block. The term itself can evoke a sense of dread. It’s that wall that seems to rise out of nowhere, blocking the flow of ideas and words. But here’s the thing—acknowledging writer’s block isn’t admitting defeat; it’s the first step towards overcoming it. Let’s explore some strategies that have helped writers, myself included, to break through this barrier.

  1. Acceptance and Understanding: First, let’s accept that writer’s block is a common part of the creative process. It doesn’t mean you’re not talented or that your story isn’t worth telling. Sometimes, it’s your brain’s way of signalling that you need a break, more information, or a different approach. Voices in the writing world may say that writer’s block isn’t real, but for each and every one of us who has experienced the temporary inability to find the words, such claims can be hurtful or even make us feel as though there must be something wrong with us. Writer’s block is, by its very definition, a real phenomenon. Writers DO get stuck. Quite often, in fact. But it’s absolutely solvable with a little time and patience. So disregard what you may have heard in the past and don’t blame yourself for being blocked. Accept that it is perfectly normal and there is nothing wrong with you. Then you can crack on with finding a way out.
  2. Change Your Environment: A change of scenery can do wonders. Move your writing space, try a new café, or simply go for a walk. A new environment can stimulate your senses and reignite your creativity. Don’t allow yourself to stay stuck in one spot. Sometimes we need to leave our normal writing spot and detach ourselves from the associations that may be keeping us blocked. You could rearrange your workspace, or work somewhere new. You might try writing by hand or dictation as part of this step. Just do something to mix it up.
  3. Set Small Goals: The pressure of big expectations can be paralysing. Break your writing down into small, manageable tasks. Write a sentence. Then a paragraph. Sometimes, starting is the hardest part. Sometimes it’s the weight of the entire book or series that keeps us from moving forward. So shut out the big picture and just focus on the next few words. I know this can be hard and you may be facing serious resistance, but pushing through that is essential. Tell that inner voice who is suggesting you go watch another episode of your latest binge instead of writing that you’re just going to open the manuscript and write a sentence. Just one. And do it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just get some words onto the page. Which brings me to…
  4. Freewriting and Prompts: Give yourself permission to let go of expectations. Set a timer for 10 minutes and just write—anything. Use writing prompts if you’re stuck for a starting point. The goal is to get the words flowing without judgement. I won’t say “write badly”, because that won’t work for many of us, but don’t aim for perfection. Let go of anxiety and reassure yourself that these don’t have to be the final words. They can be edited, either as soon as you write them, or later in the process.
  5. Talk It Out: Discuss your project with a trusted friend, fellow writer, or even talk to yourself. Articulating your ideas and challenges can clarify your thoughts and open new pathways. You may also find it helpful to draw a mind map, or brainstorm ideas on paper. Whatever you decide, pick a different way to hash out your ideas to try and unlock them.
  6. Diversify Your Creative Activities: Engage in a different creative activity—painting, playing an instrument, cooking. This can activate other parts of your brain and inspire your writing in unexpected ways.
  7. Return to Your ‘Why’: Reconnect with the reason you started writing this story. Sometimes, revisiting your initial inspiration can rekindle your passion and guide you through the block. We can often get bogged down with worries about whether people will buy our books, whether we’re hitting the right tropes, or plot beats. When anxiety gets in the way of writing, we need to go back to our core values and motivation. Maybe you set out to consciously write for a certain group of readers, or to a trending trope and if that was the original motivation then stick at it. Maybe you’re blocked for another reason. But if like many writers, this kind of marketing decision STOPS you from writing, then you need to find a way to cast it aside and focus on writing a book that YOU are going to love.
  8. Physical Exercise: Never underestimate the power of physical activity to clear your mind. Whether it’s a brisk walk, yoga, or dancing, movement can shake loose those stuck ideas. You might even try a standing desk or a treadmill desk! Moving your body in a way that feels good can be a great way to get unstuck in your writing.

To my fellow writers facing the dreaded block, you’re in good company. It’s a hurdle, not a dead end. Be kind to yourself, experiment with these strategies, and slowly but surely, you’ll find your way back to the flow of words.

If you’ve found your own unique way through writer’s block, I’d love to hear about it. Join our community on Patreon at patreon.com/hollylyne, where we share, support, and inspire one another on this writing journey.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Writer Roadmap, and share this episode with someone who might need a little nudge to get past their block. Until next time, keep writing, keep exploring, and keep navigating your path with courage and creativity.

Writer Roadmap intro and outro music used under license from Pixabay. Music track “Salangseuleoun” was Created by “Dayfox”.

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