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You’ve Been Blocked

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

by Finn Burnett


When that happens, sometimes the best thing to do is take a short break. After the break, come back to your work ready to roll up your sleeves and get back to it. 

Writer’s block, like death and taxes, happens. We get wrapped up in our own lives, our self-care falls apart, or the creative ideas just don’t come. 

We reached out to some of our favorite writers in the women-loving-women writing world for their thoughts on writer’s block and we got some great idea on what they do when they encounter it.


Cheryl Head, the Charlie Mack series.

I do something either physically strenuous, I mean to the point of sweating, or I read poetry.   The white space, and unorthodox punctuation of poetry gets my words flowing again.


Anna Burke, Nottingham, Thorn

“I work on another story. Usually I find this loosens up the issue with the story I am struggling with and I can return to it shortly.”


Karelia Stetz-Waters, Something True, Worth the Wait

Set a writing schedule–days of the week and number of hours–and stick to it. If you feel stuck, use this time to freewrite. Remember writing is as much (or more) about work as it is about inspiration.


Karin Kallmaker, Simply the Best, Because I Said So

I edit—it’s a different creative muscle. It’s easy to fix a bad first draft. It also gives a useful target for that inner blocking voice that criticizes every word I type.


Ann Roberts, Dying on the Vine, Screen Kiss

I’m a big believer in being proactive and front loading to prevent problems. Constantly journaling, even little bits—a great description, a wonderful turn of phrase, a half-baked idea—can be a vault of potential when you’re stuck. Every person, every interaction, every event is just a story waiting to be told.


Penny Micklebury, Two Wings to Fly Away, You Can’t Die But Once

When a writer can’t move a story forward it’s usually because the writer is in the way, is inserting herself in the story. Characters arc and plots move. When the brakes engage, I step back and away, and breathe. With eyes, ears, and mind open wide, I assess: what’s my story telling me? The best storytellers listen. And obey. Then they move their stories forward.


Finally, Finnian Burnett, Coyote Ate the Stars, offers this advice:

Figure out your particular block. Mine is almost always stress related. If I can carve out some time to stop thinking about my to-do list and just meditate on my story, I can come back to my manuscript brimming with ideas and ready to go.


What about you? How do you get past writer’s block? Feel free to leave comments below!

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