November 06, 2007

Writer's Block--the Bane of the Author - Donna Fawcett

By Donna Fawcett

For the first time in my life I experienced that dreaded ailment. It is an illness that causes one to break out in a cold sweat. The heart pounds and the brain echoes that sentiment with a dull aching reply. Writer’s block.

Ever writer experiences that freeze in the neuron department. It can last for days—weeks—minutes. And it’s terrifying if you have a deadline to meet. So what is writer’s block and how can we ease past it? By definition, writer’s block (according to the Donna Fawcett abridged dictionary) is the inability to string two thoughts together in a coherent sentence and successfully put it on paper for the purpose of completing an article or book.

I was prepared for this nasty virus—armed with well-documented advice from other writers. The dictionary (no not my imaginary one) is an excellent tool to jump start the brain. Just imagine what can come from flipping open to a page containing the word Nilotic. If this doesn’t work, gather your pen and note pad and head to the local coffee shop. Eavesdrop. In this one instant it is completely polite and necessary. Just don’t make comments on what you are hearing. Read articles by other writers. You may have a different approach to the same thing. Hit the Google button with your subject of choice as a search topic.

For me, the solution came in the form of the problem. Yes, I was experiencing writer’s block when trying to prepare for this blog post. Yes, I tried the coffee break, a scan of other writings—and even a trip to the dentist’s chair for a brutal preparation for a crown replacement. It wasn’t until I returned to my computer, acknowledged the fact that I was experiencing writer’s block and focused on the problem itself that I moved on.

The next time you feel bogged down try some of these suggestions (perhaps with the exception of the dentist’s chair). You never know what neurological bunny trail you will find yourself on.


  1. Great advice, Donna! :) Sometimes just writing about the fact that we can't write is a way to get writing.

  2. Ha Ha!! Good job, Donna. I'll try your ideas. I like the coffee break one. I think I'll try that one right now. (I won't try the dentist idea - they ask you a question and then re-arrange your lips so you can't answer it. Hmmm, now there's something to write about...)

  3. Oh my goodness, Donna. You, of the never-lost-for-words getting writer's block? That's hard to believe! I'll bet it doesn't happen often.


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