Definition of Writers Block. Cure for Writers Block

by TessaSchlesinger

by Tessa Schlesinger. You’ve been told of writers’ block and you think you must have it because you cannot think of a single thing to write about…

Myths are predominant in our society, and the less there is known about something, the more myths there are about it. One of those myths is writer’s block. In more than half a century of writing, I have never had it. There have, however, been times in my life when something else was preoccupying me so much that I really didn’t have the focus to write. So now, in order to lay some myths to rest and slay some outright misconceptions, I’m presenting to you my own spin of exactly what writers’ block is and how to vanquish it!

Real Writers Read Non-Fiction Around the Clock

Cure for Writer's Block

Did you know that all international bestselling novelists predominantly read non-fiction? That’s where they get their ideas from! If you’ve got nothing to write about, and your mind is blank, it’s because there’s nothing in your brain to stimulate any ideas. Ideas flow from a constant source of new information. The unconscious minds sorts through that data at night when you sleep. In the morning, you have new ideas. It’s that simple. If you’re not feeding your mind with a constant source of new information, the flow of imagination stops.  Fiction books, by the way, don’t work as well as non-fiction.

About nine years ago, I was talking to a commercial writer. She explained that she had been trying for years to write an FBI thriller but the ideas didn’t come. I asked her how much she actually knew about the FBI and how many non-fiction books she had actually read about the FBI.

“None,” she said.                                                                

That’s why she couldn’t write about them. There was nothing to peg the story on.

I personally read three or four books a week plus numerous science sites, political sites, newspapers, listen to talks at TED and debates at Intelligence Squared. They all provide ideas for writing.

In other words, there’s no such thing as writer’s block. It’s just that the writer’s brain isn’t generating any ideas because there’s no material to generate ideas from. Try running a car without fuel. You won’t get very far.

There is no such thing as Writers' Block

Real Writers are Thinkers!

Analysing information is essential to writing well

Deductive logic is part of the writer’s mind set. Poets are feelers, not thinkers. All good writing requires the ability to analyze information and present it to the reader. Readers love to learn new insights from things they read. It’s impossible to present rare insights without being a thinker. Presenting clichés which are in the public domain to the reader won’t get a writer very far. So writers need to be objective analyzers of all information that comes to them.

So combine analysis with the constant flow of new information through massive reading and the result is an outpouring of constant topics and ideas to write about. For myself, I get about one a minute. I simply cannot keep up with the number of ideas that are constantly inflowing. It has been like that throughout my life. 

Trauma in a Writer’s Life

Strong Emotion in a Writer's Life

Writers are human beings. As artists, they also tend to be more sensitive than most, so when trauma hits, they can be pretty much incapacitated. Unhappily, there is nothing for it but to work through the trauma. Some rare souls might be able to write while they’re upset or depressed, but I most certainly can’t. I also find it incredibly irritating when people say to me, “But you’re a writer… Why don’t you write about it?”

“That doesn’t work for me.”

“It works for me. Have you ever tried it?”

“Well, yes, the reason it works for you is because writing something down forces you to think through things. Generally, when one thinks through things, one sees things that one didn’t see before, and then one can go from there. However, I think constantly. It is who I am. I have already thought it through. Writing it down isn’t going to make the situation any clearer than it is for me already…”

Of course, it depends on what the situation is. If something is mildly upsetting, then sitting down and writing a fiction story can remove the mind from the issue, and then when one gets back to it, it doesn’t seem so bad. However, if it is the unexpected death of a lover, that can pretty much stop one in one’s tracks. I am a firm believer in being kind to oneself. If a terrible event in your life is stopping you from writing, let it. Just stop writing. In time, you’ll pick up a good book, and you’ll come back to it quite naturally. Writing has a rhythm, after all.

Essentially, all people when going through trauma can't focus on work. You don't hear about Engineers' block, dancers' block, or CEOs' block. What one hears is that something terrible happened and one can't focus at the moment. 


No such thing as writer's block.
No such thing as writer's block.

Pro Tip: there aren’t “ten different kinds of writers’ block.” There isn’t even _one_ kind. There is no such thing as writers’ block. Okay?

There’s No Such Thing as Writer’s Block
When someone has writer’s block it means they don’t know what to say. The best writers write the way they speak. They don’t use big flowery words and words they don’t generally speak while talking. So when writing doesn’t come naturally, quickly or easily, the term writer’s block is used. Incorrectly.... Writer’s block is simply an inability to produce original written content. ... Every author, blogger, columnist, reporter, or copy writer I know has a lot to say and to write.

There is No Such Thing as Writer’s Block
You know that you have no message, not even the ability to tell a good story. No wonder you can’t write. Most people who tell me that they get writer’s block are not real writers. They just want to be writers. They get hooked on the glamor of a book signing, the lure of the best seller, the prospect of optioning it to Hollywood. In other words, they fall in love with the fringe benefits of being a successful writer writer...

Cure for Writer's Block
Cure for Writer's Block

Ideas for Fiction and Non-Fiction Writers Differ

Creativity in a writer's life

My late father was a brilliant non-fiction writer. His articles were published in many different languages (he many languages) and had degrees from Paris, Heidelberg, and Berlin universities. He started reporting as a journalist in his early teens and covered the first television fair in Germany in 1929 and the 50th one in Paris in 1975. He was the only journalist who covered both and he was on Parisian television as a result. He also covered the discovery of the first rockets in Germany and went to the rocket sites… He continued to write and be published in newspapers and magazines throughout his life.

He couldn’t write fiction to save his life. It just wasn’t in him…

My daughter, however, can. She’s a far better writer than I am, in that respect.

So if you’re a non-fiction writer and fiction doesn’t come to you naturally, don’t sweat it. You can be a great non-fiction writer.

I think the missing factor is imagination. Essentially, writing is a left wing occupation. Crafting of sentences is a logical, precise exercise. It is what the left brain does. Imagination, however, is a right brain occupation. Both are needed. If you are left brained, it’s not likely that you will do all that well without right brain activity. By the same token, poets tend to be right brained. They use language creatively rather than objectively. Incidentally, successful novelists use left brain and right brain equally. 

Don’t sweat it, whatever your natural capacity is. Be the best type of writer you are.

If you’d like to learn more about writing, I have written a block called “The Spice of Writing.” It discusses the many different aspects of writing. I don’t write on it often – maybe five or six times a year. If you’d like to receive a notification when I do write something new, sign up for it, and you’ll never miss one!


Updated: 09/16/2013, TessaSchlesinger
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