4 Mental Blocks that Keep You from Writing & their Fixes

Forgive me, as I have been behind on my blogging schedule. And I am not just saying that either – I do feel bad about this.

I will tell you though (even if you don’t particularly wanna know) what has been keeping me busy these last two weeks.

I have been sick.

I have been organizing my son’s 8th birthday party. That includes shopping, the venue, the invites, the guest list, the food etc. Seemed more like the 18th to be honest.

My kids have been sick.

I was putting the finishing touches on my shiny new ebook. I have been writing guest posts.

I have been trying my best to make sure the house is running fine.

So you can see for yourself, nothing extraordinary that won’t fit under the term conveniently known as ‘life’. This time, my ‘blocks’ have simply been a mixture of logistical and management issues. Sometimes they go deeper and become creative or motivational issues which are harder to deal with.

What has been keeping you away from your blog and your writing? Before you go on declaring you have some sort of writer’s block, it’s worthwhile to be clear what sort of a block is it. The problem identified is a problem half solved – you know.

Is it a Logistics Issue?

  • Sick / Tired / Kids etc / Lack of time
  • Easiest to fix

You can’t sit down and write.  You want to write, but you are physically unable to do that due to exhaustion or illness, or lack of time.

Take a break from blogging. Let your readers know you are going away for a while and do just that.

While you are on a break, don’t try to take notes for future posts, don’t sneak and check your stats. Make a clean break.

Start saying no to people. In order to write, you have to drop out of the race of Ms Popularity. Over extending yourself can be a resistance issue as well. Are you sure you are not doing it on purpose?

Get some help. You have kids, you probably have a significant other, you have a job, you have a life. You cannot take a break from them, although you might want to sometimes. Do the best you can.

Is it a Management Issue?

  • Information Overload /Disorganization / Procrastination
  • Will require some inner discipline to solve this one

Cut back. You Suffer from Information Overload. You subscribe to 199 blog feeds, 13 print magazines, 57 cable channels etc.  Get rid of all the noise, keep only the most important. Simplify.

Prioritize. Do the most important things early in the day.

Batch your tasks You are disorganized and it is costing you valuable time. Batch as many tasks as you can, telephone calls, email, errands – do them in single blocks of time.

Stop spending hours on twitter, stumble upon, surfing the web, you tubing or whatever it is that you do that takes you away from writing. When you are procrastinating, you are resisting work – explore why that is.

Is it a Creativity Issue?

  • Lack of Inspiration / Don’t Know What to Say
  • Seems very real but can be fixed with some effort

Go on an active hunt for ideas. Look into books, blogs, social media channels, real world, television – whatever catches your fancy.

Force yourself to keep looking till you have something you can’t wait to write about.

Is it a Motivation Issue?

  • I am not good enough / I am not creative / No audiences / No money
  • Needs a deeper look at the problem and possibly some skills training or education

“Why bother?” Sometimes this keeps playing in your head like a broken record. No matter how you try to shut this up, won’t go away.

Why is that you feel you are not creative enough, talented enough or smart enough? Are you not happy with the size of your audience? Are you not able to engage them? Are you not seeing any results?

Time for some education? Identify what is causing this feeling, explore the gaps in your knowledge. Learn and acquire some new skills if that will help you.

Be a bit more active on social media. Tweet other people’s posts and links. Do more frequent facebook status updates. Reach out to your mentors, peers and fans. You will begin to see people respond and help lessen your feelings of isolation.

Go on a guest posting spree. Don’t approach only the big, A list bloggers. Ask medium sized blog owners if they would like some help with producing content. Join communities where people routinely write guest posts for other bloggers.

You will have the benefit for writing for people who already have established audiences. They will respond if your work resonates with them.

All of us feel like this some of the time. The important thing to understand is that these feelings are totally normal, even for the most successful and established writers.

For me, most of the time its the lack of time that prevents me from writing as much as I’d like to. What about you? What is the biggest reason for your writer’s or blogger’s block? Share in the comments below. :)

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36 Responses to 4 Mental Blocks that Keep You from Writing & their Fixes
  1. I don’t think there can be any other possible reason for someone desiring to, but still not posting on their blogs. I really admire the level of brain you put into these analysis and feel this post has presented possible solutions for each category of problems quite genuinely.

    • marya

      Rashmi, the reason for writing this post was personal. The fact that I was not able to write anything at all for a few days and that I hadn’t posted anything on my blog, didn’t help matters much. I read an ebook that inspired this post but I spend hours writing it. Once I began writing, I was struck by the common theme across all blocks so I went down that route. Thanks for appreciating it. :)

  2. MA Jan

    I think it is very well written dissection of issues faced by many. I find these steps easy and practical and I have a good feeling about them being helpful.

    • marya

      Thank you. Now what issue would be holding you back from lauching your own blog? Or is it a combination of all? :)

  3. Marya, Wow have you been going through some changes this year. The Site looks great and I like tag line.

    I am a little guilt of all except logistics. I am changing how I write a new post by writing freely what comes to mind then going back and editing. My biggest issue is in the editing. Not being a trained writer, it takes allot of time for me to edit my post down. To weed out needless words to get my message across in an attempt to keep the post within a reasonable length. Sometimes I think I over edit. Is that possible?

    You’ve highlighted, what I suspect are very common problems for writers followed by practicle solutions. Thanks
    Catherine recently posted..When Enough is Enough! pt 1

    • marya

      Hello Catherine,

      First of all, thank you for noticing the changes on my site. Sometimes I just wonder you know … :)

      As a new writer, or even a seasoned one, it is great to write first and edit later. But sometimes I don’t even follow my own advice and edit as I go. Do whatever works for you Catherine. Best of luck!

  4. Writer’s block? Two ways that I deal with it:
    - take a break, or
    - write about writer’s block

    Works like a charm.
    jim syyap recently posted..Simple Ways To Make Your Site Easy To Read

    • marya

      Excellent advice Jim – I actually do the same myself. This post falls in the latter category. Many thanks for your comment.

      Marya

  5. This is one of the most detailed articles about writer’s block I’ve come across, Marya. Oftentimes, when I find myself dealing with writer’s block, especially when it comes to blogging, it can be one of two things: stress and lack of ideas. When that happens, I take it as a signal to take a time out and relax.
    Adeline recently posted..Bellissimo Evening at LIncontro Italian Restaurant

    • marya

      Thank you for your comment Adeline – I am going to take it as a compliment. You might have noticed, I don’t post very often, probably every 10 days or so. It works for me as I only write when I have something to talk about and not only produce filler content, and my readers seem to be fine. When I do post like this, my posts tend to be more detailed and self contained. I like to give my readers (and visitors) enough info on a topic that they go away with a fairly good idea about it.

      How often do you post Adeline? :)

  6. Thanks for dividing it up in such a simple way. My biggest problem was just trying to figure out what it was that was getting me down!
    Pete Goumas recently posted..Tony Little Review

    • marya

      Actually Pete, I had no idea that this post would turn out like this. I was making a list of blocks that keep people from writing and then I begin to think how to simplify and and perhaps categorize them. This led to new insights and helped me look at my own situation in a whole new manner. I am glad you appreciate it. Many thanks. :)

  7. Oh my goodness, where do I even start? Well, I need to freelance in order to pay my bills, which leaves less time to work on my own projects. It’s coming up to Christmas, the kids have plays, visits with Santa and all the rest to attend to. My partner and I are in different timezones; meaning I stay up late to talk to her and get around 2.5 hours sleep. I can’t afford a qualified webmaster so I’m self-learning HTML etc. I’m sure there’s more but I have got time to go through them, there’s work to be done. lol

    PS. Thanks for making me realise I am not alone. :)
    Frank Bowes recently posted..Avid Studio Review and Coupons

    • marya

      Wow – you sure do have a lot to deal with, and its like that for most people come holidays. Seems like you are managing just fine though. :) Thanks for dropping by Frank. Have a safe Christmas.

      Marya :)

  8. Creativity is my bug. I’m really good at writing OTHER PEOPLE’S material. My freelance writing business caters mostly to B2B companies in the technology sector – so creativity doesn’t play a huge role in my process. But then on my blog…it’s a different story. I’m trying to do more guest posting – great suggestion!
    Ruth – The Freelance Writing Blog recently posted..Check Out My Glorious Guide to Crowdsourcing Content – and Help Me Win a Car

    • marya

      Good to see you Ruth. You should definitely think about more guest posting. I reckon you could make it on all the top blogs in no time. :) Best of luck and happy holidays!

      Marya

  9. ah writters block, it comes to us all, my advice is to take a break or write a post about taking a break or you could even write about writers block!!!
    merry christmas

    • marya

      That’s exactly what I have done here, and I agree, great advice. Happy Holidays! And thanks for dropping by Julie. :)

      Marya

  10. Good timing Marya
    i needed to read that post today!
    thanks :)

    • marya

      Thanks Farouk. Always happy to hear from you. Happy holidays! :)

  11. Hi, I have to write this quickly as I have to go out. I was directed here from your other site “Marya Writes” with an offer of “blog critique”. I would really appreciate your viewing/reviewing and letting me know what you think and if there are any changes you think I could make.

    Thank you very much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Mús

    • marya

      Hi Mus. I had a quick look at your blog. First up I liked your funky theme and tagline straightaway.

      Within first few seconds I wasn’t able to locate an ‘about me’ page and also wasn’t clear on what your site is about. If majority of the people visiting feel like this, they might leave and not return. Initial impressions are crucial for your success. I would only explore IF I had more time.

      As a first time visitor, I like to know 3 things straightaway. 1. what is this blog about? 2. Who is writing this blog? and 3.What is in it for me as a reader? The answers to these questions should be crystal clear to avoid any confusions.

      Maybe read up my 18 action steps to a path of blogging success post – see sidebar and my latest guest posts on Daily Blog Tips and Stepcase LIfehack. (See links on my fan page). These will really help you out.

      Hope this helps. :)
      Marya

      • Hi Marya, and thank you for your analysis.

        I have taken on board everything you have said. Your time and insight is much appreciated.

        Concerning the “about me”, that would be the “Our Philosophy” located on the menu bar on top. It is the last menu option so maybe the location isn’t the best, but my reasoning for this was that if anyone wanted to read it, they could, but the content on the site was more important.

        Over the last few months I have been experimenting with placement. At one time “Our Philosophy” was smack bang in the centre of the menu list and very prominent, but I felt it was a bit too pushy or “egoistic” to have it as it was. I will have a think about it though.

        Once again, thank you very much for your help. It is very much appreciated.

        Síochán agus Beannachtaí (Peace & Blessings)

        Mús

  12. Ryan

    This could be well used for students as well. Me, being one, also suffers a lot of mental blocks especially during critical times, I could use a bit advice you have here.
    Ryan recently posted..How To Get A Girlfriend

    • marya

      Hi Ryan, you are absolutely right. Writing doesn’t have to be creative only, most of the times its pretty functional and is done to serve a purpose. Next time you are unable to write, first try and diagnose the cause behind it. It might help. Thanks for dropping by, stick around will you? :)

      Marya

  13. Hi Marya

    I think my main mental block is motivation and logistic issues, some days I just don’t seem to have the energy to even start, while on other days I just can’t find time. I usually find that if I can just get an article started though then the hardest part is over.

    It’s funny but after the holiday break I thought I would feel recharged, but instead felt lethargic for about a week. Fortunately I’ve shaken that off now, so it’s time to set some goals and actually get some serious writting done this year.
    Beth recently posted..How to Win a Girls Heart Back

    • marya

      I agree with you Beth, getting started is absolutely the hardest part. Once you have managed to do this, rest is pretty easy.

      I am going away on a holiday in about a week’s time, kids and all, and worrying how long it is going to take me to get back in the flow. When I take a long break from writing, I find it that much harder to get back into it. Will see how that goes. Thanks for your comment.

      Marya

  14. Thanks, Marya. This was a very thought-provoking piece that really prompted me to examine my blocks. I tend to wait for this perfect, uninterrupted time to write. I have 3 kids. That time’s never coming. I now know I need to reprioritize some things. Thanks again!
    Mary@Everyday Baby Steps recently posted..Considering Beauty School?

    • marya

      Hey Mary. thanks for your lovely comment and my apologies for the late response. Just about to leave for a long awaited holiday. YAY

      Trust me, if you wait for the perfect time to write, it will never happen. That’s why I now write when I can, and I also write fast. This helps. Cheers for dropping by. :)

      Marya

  15. This is what I needed to hear today. I was sick, my kids were sick, my son had a birthday. I’ve had a hard time sitting down to write. Now I realize it isn’t writer’s block, it’s because I’m tired! That’s a relief, because just thinking you have writer’s block causes writer’s block.
    Mommie Daze recently posted..Surprising Big Binder with New International Delight Iced Coffee

    • marya

      Thank you Mommie Daze. Sometimes it just helps to articulate what you are going through. Hope you are having better writing days. Cheers

      Marya

  16. Colleen

    Like many of your other readers, I am so happy to read this particular blog post. I’ve always loved writing and it seems that of late (and I’m talking the past two years or so) I’ve had massive writer’s block. I’ve pulled out my unfinished projects and just can’t seem to find the motivation and/or inspiration to finish them… and yet deep down I know I want so badly.

    Thank you for this very timely (my discovery) and applicable post and I know that I will be returning time and again to be encouraged by your tips.

    • marya

      Hi Colleen, good to know I was able to put things in perspective – that’s what I am assuming by your words. :) Best of luck, and continue writing! Cheers

  17. [...] after all, you are a writer, and I bet already a good one, and a writer, well, writes even as life happens around you, write.. Let the writing [...]

  18. [...] Post you’ll like: 4 Mental Blocks that Keep You from Writing & Their Fixes [...]

  19. Marya,
    This is my first time visiting and I love your site. I also love this article. I struggle with getting the writing done because I don’t think I am good enough. I know I can write and I know I write well. (I have been told as much from people who had the opportunity to read some of the things I have written.) I struggle with putting myself out there simply because I do not think I am good enough. OTher times when I am just sitting down to write for no real reason other than to write, my brain seems to be void of all thoughts and ideas.
    Patricia recently posted..My Writing Story

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