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Is writer's block grinding you to a halt? You're not alone. Students, executives, even world-class authors—all who write are fair game.

We're writers and creative professionals who've suffered through and overcome the same block issues you face. Our goal is to help you break down the barriers that stand between you and your writing potential.

Beat immediate block with Writer's Block Quick Cures. In Writer's Block Prevention Strategies and Creativity Secrets, you'll learn how prolific writers use the latest developments in mind research to avoid block, supercharge output and increase work quality. Visit Writer's Block Products for books, software and tools designed to help you find your writing “zone!”

Writer's Block History

Writer's block has plagued humanity since the first words were put to paper—or stone! The names of many famous authors, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Mitchell, Ernest Hemingway, Joseph Conrad and Leo Tolstoy can be found among its documented victims.

Definition of Writer's Block

Writer's block is a temporary or long-term restriction of thought that can surface during any stage of the writing process.

  • Initial idea: You're unable to start because you have no clue what to write about.
  • Concept expansion: You're stuck at a midpoint, unable to build on or integrate ideas.
  • Editing: You find it difficult or impossible to refine your work.

Writer's block can last for hours, days, weeks, months—even years.

Writer's Block Causes

Writer's block most often results when environmental influences, psychological fears and/or an overactive inner critic interfere with your thought process.

Environmental Influences

  • Distractions are everywhere these days as multiple communication devices compete 24/7 for your attention. Frequent interruption invites writer's block.
  • This endless flow of information imposes a constant demand on the analytical side of your brain to process it. Most often, this results in the suppression of the brain's creative side.

Psychological Fears

  • Not being perfect—Perfectionism is rocket fuel for writer's block because it spurs your internal critic into action.
  • Exposure—You fear that your writing will be criticized by anyone who sees it.

The Internal Critic

  • Writer's block is most often the product of an overactive internal critic. This is the voice within you that harshly judges and hyper-analyzes your ideas to the point where decisions are difficult to make and follow through on. Because the internal critic emerges subtly and gradually, you can be unaware of its presence (or power) even after full-blown writer's block has set in.

How Writer's Block Works

  • Over-analysis, often an attempt to deal with information overload or the need to be perfect, brings up the inner critic. This leads to left-brain-biased thought, where critical analysis monopolizes brain function at the expense of creative thought.
  • Stress caused by perfectionism, information overload, or outside influences (including deadline pressure from work/school projects) can create enough tension to activate the brain's instinctual “fight or flight” response. When activated, this mechanism, designed to help our primitive ancestors deal with life-threatening situations, can suppress the brain's cerebral processing system.

Because these mind states surface gradually, you can be completely unaware of them. This often leads you to believe that you simply lack ability when writer's block sets in.

How to Beat Writer's Block

When facing writer's block, the first thing to realize is that it's not due to your lack of writing ability. Again, it's usually a result of outside distractions, inner fears of failure or, most often, your critical inner voice telling you that your work isn't good enough.

When dealing with current writer's block, the objective is to sidestep fears and distract your inner critic.

  • Designate an area for writing only—free of phone, text or other e-distractions.
  • Write quickly with no regard for errors.
  • Write as if conversing. Most people find that words flow more easily when speaking than when writing.
  • Take breaks where you can completely separate from the work. These pauses distract your inner critic and allow your subconscious to process the project. Exercise, walk or take in a movie.
  • Read past work or notes—old ideas can stimulate thought.

For many more suggestions, please see Writer's Block Quick Cures / Writer's Block Products

Writer's Block Prevention

Thwart future writer's block by learning how to prepare your mind for the writing process.

  • Try to notice if any fears are activating the more instinctual parts of your mind and blocking thought.
  • Watch for your inner critic and learn to catch it in the act. During creative idea sessions, notice if you are hyper-analyzing or blocking ideas. Because your critic's arrival is usually subtle and not always obvious, this can take practice.
  • Check out our Reporter's Matrix worksheet to learn how it can help you stimulate and organize ideas.
  • Keep a journal where you can write down feelings and thoughts. Journaling is an outstanding way to identify fears, define beliefs and generate ideas.
  • Learn how the brain (especially the creative side) functions. Most people have little idea how their minds explore, generate or expand thought.

For more information, please see Writer's Block Prevention / Writer's Block Products.

About Unlock Writer's Block

We are writers and creative professionals committed to helping you beat your writer's block. We do this by uncovering the productivity secrets of history's most prolific writers and highlighting the latest discoveries from brain function research. The site is organized to help you:

1) Overcome present writer's block
2) Prevent future writer's block
3) Enhance creativity
4) Discover products to make your writing experiences productive, rewarding and enjoyable!

We are always on the lookout for feedback and suggestions—please contact us…

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