Writer’s Block — A Mythical Creature From a Parallel Universe

Discarding the notion of writer’s block so you can work on your writer’s blocks


There is something to be said about how we have labeled this thing we call writer’s block.

When we discuss it, we say, “I have writer’s block,” or “They have writer’s block.”

As all writers know, there are always implications in how we arrange any combination of words.

Yes, the world hears those implications. That matters — a lot. But, most importantly, we hear them. And we usually believe whatever we repeat. What is a belief, anyway, besides a thought we keep thinking?

Think about the difference between these two very similar yet completely different statements.

“I have writer’s block.”

or…

“I have a writer’s block.”

In the first one, the perception of what we are referring to is massive. In the second, it is a fragment.

When we say, “I have writer’s block,” we are referring to some elusive entity that permeates our entire being as a writer. Writer’s block covers the entire writer in a blanket of blocked.

You have watched the movies featuring genius authors as the protagonist. You know how writer’s block is perceived — by the world. It is this mystical thing that no one really understands — a thing that consumes the entire writer and asks them to go to great lengths to get around some transgressor that they have no control over and will never understand.

Writer’s block is some giant red dragon that any writer must eventually slay — or wither and be forgotten. We must find our way through some magical castle and conjure the infallible writer’s knight — to help us slay this giant red dragon before every word we have ever written or thought is burned up by the breath of this mysterious beast.

That’s not reality though. Writers do not have writer’s block — some insidious writer’s enemy that comes to rob us of our ideas and inspiration. Writers have writer’s blocks or a writer’s block. There is no magical and oppressive creature forcing you into submission.

Now, I get it. Most of us love these mystical perceptions in the same way that we love the beauty in our pain. We love it for the same reason that we love the idea of the starving artist. And that’s fine. It has its place in our fiction and poetry.

But many writers do themselves a great disservice by internalizing the more mystical explanations of a writer’s existence and allowing them to consume the whole writer — allowing them to become their identity. I have done this and likely will again.

In reality, we do not have block. We have a block. We are not blocked entirely, but only a part of us is. And because writing requires all of us, a blocked part of us can block our writing entirely. But as long as we view it as block instead of a block, the true blocks evade us. That is when they become the mysterious creature.

So if we must use the words, “I have writer’s block,” what we mean is,

“I have a writer’s block that I haven’t uncovered yet, and because I have yet to surmount this obstacle, my writing is blocked.”


After you have slain the dragon — by realizing there is no dragon — you can start finding the areas that block you. But you don’t have to slay anything. These blocks are in you — a part of you. They are not there to be destroyed but to be a catalyst to your growth as a writer and as a human being.

You can make friends with your blocks — and when you do, they become good ole pals. You know, the ones of that love-hate relationship. You know they are bringing something good to the party, but sometimes you don’t want to deal with their shenanigans.

Yeah, that’s them. The greatly beneficial but taxing friends — the ones who may not be easy to deal with, but make the party better — make you better. Your blocks can be your friends. They are the friends that challenge you and test your resolve, even when you aren’t in the mood.

It is much easier to get through your blocks as a writer when you look at them as a friend who comes along to level you up — as opposed to a monstrous beast that is impossible to destroy without divine intervention.


Writer’s blocks

Human beings are complex already.

But when a human turns into a writer, that complexity intensifies — through the self-awareness that writing requires and the added complexity of attempting to take the complexities of our minds and turn them into comprehensive symbols.

Being complex is one thing and objectively exploring our complexities is another. But understanding the complexities of our ideas in such a way that we can comprehensively explain them to another complex human being — using nothing but black symbols in blank space — is an art that brings out the most hidden parts of our being.

Considering that to be a creative writer is to sign a lifelong contract with self-exploration, it makes sense that writers come across monumental emotional and mental blocks. What human wouldn’t when unearthing the deepest parts of their soul?

There is no way for any writer to create a one-size-fits-all cure for every block of every writer. The complexities of balancing our human nature with the stark contrast between every writer’s life experience make it impossible. But like all challenges in life, we can find threads of our story in the stories of others.

If you are a writer who hasn’t been writing, regardless of whether you haven’t dared to start or started long ago and have been blocked I share three narrative adjustments that have helped me and countless others move forward in confidence to find success — especially in the beginning.

Writer’s block number 1 — the lie of the lost story

All I had to do was write that heading, and my heart rate increased. Sometimes the most untrue things that should be the most obviously untrue are the most widely believed. So is this lie of the lost story, for which I am very passionate.

This lie fuels my passion the most because I want for all other writers what I want for me and what all writers want — I want all writers to write. I want it on such a deep soul level that when I think of the writers that are not writing, my heart fills with sorrow, and my eyes fill with tears.

You see, it is not only the writers that I wish this for, it is the readers — the world. I know there are Van Goghs who are not painting and Poes who are not writing, and it burns my spirit. It lights a flame in me that makes me want to climb to the highest rooftop in the land and declare the truth for all to hear.

You do not have to find anything. There is no lost story. And if you keep looking for the lost story, you will keep looking past the abundant supply of stories that exist — the stories inside of you.

Those are the ones. People want to hear those, but they cannot if you don’t write them down. And you can’t write them down if you can’t see them yourself because you are off somewhere chasing a story that was never lost.

Writer’s block number 2 — the mistake of waiting until you are ready

This block may land at number two on the writer’s list, but it makes its way into every area of our lives. The false benefits of waiting until we are ready stop many people — who could achieve great success — from even starting.

On a more basic rooftop, but a rooftop no less, I shout…

You will never be ready. Ever. If you wait until you are ready then you will stay where you are forever.

Your writing will never advance to the level that you want it to if you do not practice. Writing journal entries doesn’t count. I didn’t write for a long time because I wanted my writing to be of a certain quality before I wrote. How I ever made sense of that, I don’t know. But I am certainly not alone.

There are writers like me all over the world that aren’t writing. They aren’t writing right now because they, too, want to become a better writer before they start writing. But it just doesn’t work that way.

Write now.

Practice makes perfect and perfect practice makes the master.

No matter how long you write, you should be able to look back on your work from a month ago and see how it can be better. That does not mean you are a poor writer. It means you are a great one.

Since today’s work always will out-show yesterday’s work, it makes no difference how good you are when you start. No matter where you start, practice makes you better, and continued practice makes the master. So let it go, stop taking yourself so seriously, and start where you are.

Writer’s block number 3 — the invasion of editorial standards

Editorial standards matter for many reasons, but they can invade the spirit of our writing with their overbearing nature and sometimes unreasonable demands.

When editorial standards invade your passion and weigh on your confidence as a writer, they can cause you to put the horse before the cart — so to speak.

Editorial standards do not make you a writer, and they have little to do with your talent. They are simply a means of packaging.

The most brilliant writers and poets of all time were not the greatest because of their high editorial standards. They were great because they were able to package all the great stories inside them in a way that reached the world. That’s it, and that’s all.

Those brilliant stories and unique ideas are in you too, and your editing is not what makes them. It is a mere tool that aids in their packaging.

Write however you write, and if you are so haunted by standards that you cannot make a good sentence, write like you are writing to a friend. Then, go back and edit. But remember that you are not editing to change your work or your voice. Do not edit your voice out of your writing. Just use the tools you have to polish it up before you ship it out.

The more you use these tools to add the ribbons and bows to your package, the more they will naturally emerge as you write. But do not try to force yourself to write a certain way, or you may never write. Write and package, write and refine, write and polish.

With this approach, the balance between your style and standard will emerge organically. After all, the guidelines we commonly adhere to have never been about having some list of rules to follow. They are and have always been about the reader.

Use the tools of language, grammar and syntax. But do not let them invade your writing. Remember that they are there for you to use, not to hold over your head like a dark shadow.

Stop trying so hard to improve. Keep writing and polishing, and you will seamlessly improve.


If you are a new or nearly new writer and think you must learn how to be a writer, you are mistaken. You are a writer. All writers are writers. All you have to learn how to do is hone your skill, which is nothing more than practicing.

You may sometimes face blocks as a writer. But you do not have writer’s block. No matter what your blocks are, they are not ravenous beasts. They are good ole friends that come only to make you better and help you reach more people.

Written by Holly Kellums


There is something to be said about how we have labeled this thing we call writer’s block.

When we discuss it, we say, “I have writer’s block,” or “They have writer’s block.”

As all writers know, there are always implications in how we arrange any combination of words.

Yes, the world hears those implications. That matters — a lot. But, most importantly, we hear them. And we usually believe whatever we repeat. What is a belief, anyway, besides a thought we keep thinking?

Think about the difference between these two very similar yet completely different statements.

“I have writer’s block.”

or…

“I have a writer’s block.”

In the first one, the perception of what we are referring to is massive. In the second, it is a fragment.

When we say, “I have writer’s block,” we are referring to some elusive entity that permeates our entire being as a writer. Writer’s block covers the entire writer in a blanket of blocked.

You have watched the movies featuring genius authors as the protagonist. You know how writer’s block is perceived — by the world. It is this mystical thing that no one really understands — a thing that consumes the entire writer and asks them to go to great lengths to get around some transgressor that they have no control over and will never understand.

Writer’s block is some giant red dragon that any writer must eventually slay — or wither and be forgotten. We must find our way through some magical castle and conjure the infallible writer’s knight — to help us slay this giant red dragon before every word we have ever written or thought is burned up by the breath of this mysterious beast.

That’s not reality though. Writers do not have writer’s block — some insidious writer’s enemy that comes to rob us of our ideas and inspiration. Writers have writer’s blocks or a writer’s block. There is no magical and oppressive creature forcing you into submission.

Now, I get it. Most of us love these mystical perceptions in the same way that we love the beauty in our pain. We love it for the same reason that we love the idea of the starving artist. And that’s fine. It has its place in our fiction and poetry.

But many writers do themselves a great disservice by internalizing the more mystical explanations of a writer’s existence and allowing them to consume the whole writer — allowing them to become their identity. I have done this and likely will again.

In reality, we do not have block. We have a block. We are not blocked entirely, but only a part of us is. And because writing requires all of us, a blocked part of us can block our writing entirely. But as long as we view it as block instead of a block, the true blocks evade us. That is when they become the mysterious creature.

So if we must use the words, “I have writer’s block,” what we mean is,

“I have a writer’s block that I haven’t uncovered yet, and because I have yet to surmount this obstacle, my writing is blocked.”


After you have slain the dragon — by realizing there is no dragon — you can start finding the areas that block you. But you don’t have to slay anything. These blocks are in you — a part of you. They are not there to be destroyed but to be a catalyst to your growth as a writer and as a human being.

You can make friends with your blocks — and when you do, they become good ole pals. You know, the ones of that love-hate relationship. You know they are bringing something good to the party, but sometimes you don’t want to deal with their shenanigans.

Yeah, that’s them. The greatly beneficial but taxing friends — the ones who may not be easy to deal with, but make the party better — make you better. Your blocks can be your friends. They are the friends that challenge you and test your resolve, even when you aren’t in the mood.

It is much easier to get through your blocks as a writer when you look at them as a friend who comes along to level you up — as opposed to a monstrous beast that is impossible to destroy without divine intervention.


Writer’s blocks

Human beings are complex already.

But when a human turns into a writer, that complexity intensifies — through the self-awareness that writing requires and the added complexity of attempting to take the complexities of our minds and turn them into comprehensive symbols.

Being complex is one thing and objectively exploring our complexities is another. But understanding the complexities of our ideas in such a way that we can comprehensively explain them to another complex human being — using nothing but black symbols in blank space — is an art that brings out the most hidden parts of our being.

Considering that to be a creative writer is to sign a lifelong contract with self-exploration, it makes sense that writers come across monumental emotional and mental blocks. What human wouldn’t when unearthing the deepest parts of their soul?

There is no way for any writer to create a one-size-fits-all cure for every block of every writer. The complexities of balancing our human nature with the stark contrast between every writer’s life experience make it impossible. But like all challenges in life, we can find threads of our story in the stories of others.

If you are a writer who hasn’t been writing, regardless of whether you haven’t dared to start or started long ago and have been blocked I share three narrative adjustments that have helped me and countless others move forward in confidence to find success — especially in the beginning.

Writer’s block number 1 — the lie of the lost story

All I had to do was write that heading, and my heart rate increased. Sometimes the most untrue things that should be the most obviously untrue are the most widely believed. So is this lie of the lost story, for which I am very passionate.

This lie fuels my passion the most because I want for all other writers what I want for me and what all writers want — I want all writers to write. I want it on such a deep soul level that when I think of the writers that are not writing, my heart fills with sorrow, and my eyes fill with tears.

You see, it is not only the writers that I wish this for, it is the readers — the world. I know there are Van Goghs who are not painting and Poes who are not writing, and it burns my spirit. It lights a flame in me that makes me want to climb to the highest rooftop in the land and declare the truth for all to hear.

You do not have to find anything. There is no lost story. And if you keep looking for the lost story, you will keep looking past the abundant supply of stories that exist — the stories inside of you.

Those are the ones. People want to hear those, but they cannot if you don’t write them down. And you can’t write them down if you can’t see them yourself because you are off somewhere chasing a story that was never lost.

Writer’s block number 2 — the mistake of waiting until you are ready

This block may land at number two on the writer’s list, but it makes its way into every area of our lives. The false benefits of waiting until we are ready stop many people — who could achieve great success — from even starting.

On a more basic rooftop, but a rooftop no less, I shout…

You will never be ready. Ever. If you wait until you are ready then you will stay where you are forever.

Your writing will never advance to the level that you want it to if you do not practice. Writing journal entries doesn’t count. I didn’t write for a long time because I wanted my writing to be of a certain quality before I wrote. How I ever made sense of that, I don’t know. But I am certainly not alone.

There are writers like me all over the world that aren’t writing. They aren’t writing right now because they, too, want to become a better writer before they start writing. But it just doesn’t work that way.

Write now.

Practice makes perfect and perfect practice makes the master.

No matter how long you write, you should be able to look back on your work from a month ago and see how it can be better. That does not mean you are a poor writer. It means you are a great one.

Since today’s work always will out-show yesterday’s work, it makes no difference how good you are when you start. No matter where you start, practice makes you better, and continued practice makes the master. So let it go, stop taking yourself so seriously, and start where you are.

Writer’s block number 3 — the invasion of editorial standards

Editorial standards matter for many reasons, but they can invade the spirit of our writing with their overbearing nature and sometimes unreasonable demands.

When editorial standards invade your passion and weigh on your confidence as a writer, they can cause you to put the horse before the cart — so to speak.

Editorial standards do not make you a writer, and they have little to do with your talent. They are simply a means of packaging.

The most brilliant writers and poets of all time were not the greatest because of their high editorial standards. They were great because they were able to package all the great stories inside them in a way that reached the world. That’s it, and that’s all.

Those brilliant stories and unique ideas are in you too, and your editing is not what makes them. It is a mere tool that aids in their packaging.

Write however you write, and if you are so haunted by standards that you cannot make a good sentence, write like you are writing to a friend. Then, go back and edit. But remember that you are not editing to change your work or your voice. Do not edit your voice out of your writing. Just use the tools you have to polish it up before you ship it out.

The more you use these tools to add the ribbons and bows to your package, the more they will naturally emerge as you write. But do not try to force yourself to write a certain way, or you may never write. Write and package, write and refine, write and polish.

With this approach, the balance between your style and standard will emerge organically. After all, the guidelines we commonly adhere to have never been about having some list of rules to follow. They are and have always been about the reader.

Use the tools of language, grammar and syntax. But do not let them invade your writing. Remember that they are there for you to use, not to hold over your head like a dark shadow.

Stop trying so hard to improve. Keep writing and polishing, and you will seamlessly improve.


If you are a new or nearly new writer and think you must learn how to be a writer, you are mistaken. You are a writer. All writers are writers. All you have to learn how to do is hone your skill, which is nothing more than practicing.

You may sometimes face blocks as a writer. But you do not have writer’s block. No matter what your blocks are, they are not ravenous beasts. They are good ole friends that come only to make you better and help you reach more people.

Written by Holly Kellums


Originally published on Medium.com

Featured image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay

Published by hollykellums

Internationally Published Author * Influencer * Recovery Coach * Human Potential Activist

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