The Gift of Writer’s Block

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Writer’s Block–the humbling ugly side of writing commonly associated with disappointment, frustration, and shame. It certainly carries a nasty reputation, but you don’t have to look at it that way. It’s time to change your outlook. Writer’s Block can be a gift.

Writer’s Block is NOT a myth.

I recently read an article that dismissed Writer’s Block as a myth. It went on to say that writers use it as an excuse to get out of writing. I couldn’t disagree more.

When someone tells us that our feelings or experiences are not real, we don’t acknowledge a serious issue, and then we suppress. Have we learned nothing about suppression? It leads to awful behavior. So no, I will not perpetuate this falsehood. I will not tell you that you are being lazy and that you should suffer and push through.

I will, however, tell you that you need to be more proactive about your lack of creativity …

Listen to your brain.

When you hit that wall and say, I’ve got nothing left to give, recognize that your brain has stopped being creative–on a conscious level. It needs a break and it’s throwing you signals. When you realize this, instead of eating all the Oreos, hiding under a blanket, and Netflix-binging, acknowledge it and do something about it. Take a nap. A short one.

This sounds counter-intuitive but it’s not. Think of your brain like a computer. It’s running some heavy programs while you write. Sometimes, the program needs more power and computation time, more than you have available at the moment. In order for the backup server to run, your conscious brain needs to shut down for a while. This shutdown allows the backup server to catalog, process, and then review all the data you just threw at it. You can force a reboot by meditating or taking a power nap.

Creative power nappers throughout history…

This is not a new thing. Einstein did it, so did Salvador Dali, Benjamin Franklin, Da Vinci, Brahms, and Beethoven. Their key to not over-napping, was, in some cases an actual physical key. Einstein used a spoon, but whatever you choose, sit with a heavy metal object in your hand, close your eyes and let go. When you fall into a deep sleep, you will drop the object and wake up from the clang.

The aforementioned great thinkers found that, when they awoke, they were refreshed and their mental slate was clear to solve whatever problems had plagued them pre-powernap.

How often do you wake in the morning and know exactly all the things you need to accomplish? For me, I wake with a clear list in my head of what I need to do. This is because I wake in a state that has been free of background noise both real and created by my own self.

Not a napper? Try meditation. This article has some wonderful insight into being better to yourself mentally.

Can’t meditate? Vacuum your living room.

Maybe all the meditation and the naps are not helping. Maybe you just need to do something else. I know people who swear meditation and napping would drive them even crazier than before. If this is you, go vacuum. I’m serious.

Mundane tasks are another way of clearing the mental clutter and allowing the subconscious to run its catalog, process, and review procedures. Don’t think about your current problem. Think about the dirt on the floor. I’ve also heard driving, showering, and exercise can also trigger a mind sweep.

Give yourself the gift of slowing down.

Writer’s Block might be your mind and body’s way of saying, slow down. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s a healthy choice and don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s your job to recognize the signs of mental fatigue, and to then treasure the time to rejuvenate. 

The world is a crazy overwhelming place and it can wear you down, so be kind to yourself. Your writing will be better for it.  


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About Author

Heather Rigney is a fiction writer, blogger, journalist, and art teacher based in Rhode Island. Author of The Merrow Trilogy--a dark, historical fantasy novel that deals with homicidal mermaids, the colonial suppression of women, and a present-day alcoholic funeral director trying to make sense of it all. Her writing has been featured in Motif Magazine and Stone Crowns Magazine. By day she teaches art at an all-girls Quaker school and at night she tries to be creative while avoiding too many sweets. You can read more about Ms. Rigney on her website:


    • Heather Rigney on

      Dear Callie,
      You are most welcome! I hope these tips help with your productivity.
      Best of luck with your writing endeavors,

  1. Driving is what does it for me, I try to have a scratch pad at hand while driving, ever ready to jot down those snippets of inspirations which will soon become the springboard for my next writing binge. Thanks Heather, very informative.

    • Heather Rigney on

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article, but do be careful as you jot while driving, dear writer. I, too, come up with ideas in the car and use the voice memo app on my phone. Hope your ideas keep flowing!
      Best regards,

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