Breaking through the Writer’s block

Some 2 weeks ago I spoke about my painstaking writer’s block and forced myself to write a blogpost which really had not much in common with my discussion of a writer’s block. As a twitter follower, put it eloquently:

The idea was to produce something, which even with a little encouragement was going to give me that push which would make me regain the confidence that I had lost. That, my dearest readers, is exactly what happened. Once I published the post, opening an invitation to everyone to tell me how they got over their writer’s block- I got a huge influx of RT’s on twitter and comments. This made me so happy that I finally realized the missing block from my every day- something intrinsically cherished by the blogger inside of me.

Here are some of your tips on getting over a writer’s block:

It is amazing how common Writer’s blocks are; even from a quick hashtag search on twitter you can see how many people are constantly feeling stuck. Unable to write. Transfixed. From the comments, I could tell everyone had a different way of dealing with it. My way of dealing with a writer’s block has been to write imperfection with pride- resolute not to let tiny details put a stop to progression of my cure for Writers block.

Poems written under an extrinsic orientation were significantly less creative than those written in the other 2 conditions. Implications for social-psychological and individual-difference conceptions of creativity are discussed.

The Scientific Why-it-happens

Mike Rose is a prominent researcher into writer’s block and he defines it as “an in­ability to begin or continue writing for reasons other than a lack of skill or com­mitment,”. He measure this by “pas­sage of time with limited productive involvement in the writing task.” This sounds very reasonable because as more and more time passes by, one is less likely to write. Therefore, I campaign for as @1wordlinkedup proposes, progress not perfection. Do it before it kills your chances. Mike Rose advises to avoid the entangles of Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language.

A study by Amabile(1980) asked creative writing students to participate in a creative writing task.The students were given 2 poems to write. The first poem came with a free reign on what to write while the second one could only be written after being quizzed over why they were writing and what they were going to write about before they started writing. The first poem was far more creative than the second one (‘Poems written under an extrinsic orientation were significantly less creative..’). Seems like what we thought all along was indeed true: Creativity needs space to breath and breed.

The final word from me is to ignore the atoms and focus on the overall picture. Don’t let the frustration of the overall quality of your work detain you from simply writing whatever comes to your mind. And when you do start writing, don’t let the bounds of deadlines, structure and motive crush your creativity. I may be wrong, but then again this is a blog-not a factbook….


Amabile, Teresa M. (1985) Motivation and creativity: Effects of motivational orientation on creative writers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 48(2), Feb 1985, 393-399.
Rose, Mike (1980) Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language: A Cognitivist Analysis of Writer’s Block. College Composition and Communication , Vol. 31, No. 4 (Dec., 1980), pp. 389-401.
– Writer’s Block: The Cognitive Dimension (2009)
This entry was published on December 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm. It’s filed under motivation, random and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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