Archive for March 18th, 2010

Thursday, March 18th, 2010 by Candace Havens
No Such Thing as Writer’s Block

Here’s what I know about myself. If I stall for a few minutes with the writing, then I know I’m afraid of my book. It isn’t that I’ve run out of things to say, or that the book really sucks. It’s fear. That horrible, wriggling thing that destroys the creative process. Usually, it happens some time around page 160 and then again on 220. If you think about it, that’s about when we are hitting a major plot turn in the book.

There are some people who have a block before they ever sit down to write the book. You can stare at the blank pages for hours/days/months.

I get it. I do.

I promise you don’t have to suffer like that any more. Once you acknowledge the fear and can name it, it’s usually much easier to push through. Ask yourself why you are afraid of this next bit? What’s happening with the characters that doesn’t feel right? What is it that really scares you?

Whatever the answers, don’t let that stop you. There are ways to work around the fear. When I’m writing non-fiction and I can’t think of a good lead, sometimes I start the story with a quote I know I want to use. When I’m writing fiction, I have lots of different tricks to share with you.


  1. I’m sorry but there’s no such thing. It’s all mental. It’s important to tell yourself and to identify the problem.The most important thing, especially on a first draft is to remember that it is a FIRST DRAFT. It is supposed to be crap. Give yourself permission to write crap and you’ll be amazed by what happens.
  2. That blank page can be so frightful. I know. It’s the unknown. Write anything. I started a book with the follow: She watches someone die, and then she collapses. That’s how Like A Charm began. Write anything down. It’s a draft. You can go back and change it.
  3. Move away from your computer. Grab a notebook, pick a scene and write. Or pick a character and write about him or her. Put them in a place and let your mind go.
  4. Freewrite about anything. Just start putting words on a page. I saw a guy at Starbucks and just write. It doesn’t have anything to do with your book but it will help you.
  5. You can also do timed writing. For 20 minutes you are going to do as much as you can and just put anything on the page.
    1. very quickly three minutes I want you to take this phrase and do what you will with it. Don’t think just write.
    2. I couldn’t believe… you have three minute
  6. You can do a character study, interview them, get to know them better. Find out what they want to do next.
  7. Have you written a synopsis for the book. This might be a good time, even for pantsers, yes I’m one, to sit down and plot a little of the book. Just what they want to see happen next.
  8. Skip ahead and write the next scene where you know what happens.
  9. Brainstorm, even better brainstorm about what happens next or why you are blocked with a friend.
  10. My NO. 1 favorite tool to smash through writer’s block, is to write the end first. It’s worked for everyone I’ve told. Once you have a beginning and end, it’s just middle parts to sort.

These are the things that help me. What works for you?