Blocking Writer’s Block – Encore

Author JD Mader

[This is an encore presentation of JD Mader’s post. Please tune in on Thursday for JD’s victorious return.]

I want to talk for a second about how to deal with writer’s block – don’t. Writer’s block is a myth. It is a psych-out. I have been writing for half my life and I have taught enough writing workshops to honestly believe that writer’s block does not exist…unless you let it exist.

Let me qualify that a bit. There are times when I am blocked on a certain piece, certainly. But that doesn’t mean I can’t write. Writer’s block is fear, pure and simple. And it is easy to let that fear dominate you. But it is easy to avoid, too.

I write every day. Usually around 500 words. A lot more lately. There is never a day when I ‘can’t write’, because I don’t try to force it. If I am working on a novel and I feel jammed up, I write a story. If I can’t think of a story, I look around me…I start describing something. Usually, that leads to something. Sometimes it leads to 500 words of description. So what?

Another aspect to this is that you are hurting yourself if you demand the best all the time. Sometimes I write silly, ridiculous things. Sometimes I write more literary pieces. Sometimes I write out conversations. Sometimes I write songs. But there is never a time when I ‘can’t’ write – I refuse to accept that.

I mean, if you chopped off both my hands, it would be difficult. But as long as I have my hands and a pen or a computer, I can write. It may suck. It may make no sense. It may not be linear or have a plot. It may be a character study. It may be bad beat poetry, but I can write.

Writers can’t afford superstitions. I know a lot of people who get ‘writer’s block’, and it is always their choice. It is like Dumbo’s magic feather. Dumbo thought he needed the feather to fly. But it was all in his mind. Writers find all kinds of magic feathers. Certain times of the day…booze…a certain place. They give themselves escape routes…ways to rationalize that ‘they can’t write today’. Bullshit. Unless you suffer severe head trauma and suddenly become illiterate, you can write. It may not be the best thing you have ever written, but so what.

Once you accept the fact that writer’s block is a choice, you come to terms with the fact that there is no escape. You actively block all those escape routes. It builds confidence. And writing daily keeps you sharp. At any time of day, you can put my laptop in my hands and I can write you 500 words. I got my start in journalism and writer’s block is simply not permitted there. So, I don’t permit it now. You’re a writer. So write. And don’t let your brain get in the way. You asked for a guest blog. You got it. 500 words exactly. Well, now it is 500. Give or take.

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JD Mader is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and author of the novels JOE CAFÉ and THE BIKER – and co-author of the mighty Bad Book. For more information, please see the IU Bio page and his blog: (and musical nonsense here: JD Mader).  Mader’s edgier works can be found at

Author: JD Mader

JD Mader is an award winning short story writer and novelist. 'Joe Café' and 'The Biker' are out now, as well as 'Please, no eyes'. and the collaborative 'Bad Book'. Mader has been writing for half his life and has no plans on stopping any time soon. Learn more about JD Mader at his blog and his Amazon author page.

7 thoughts on “Blocking Writer’s Block – Encore”

  1. This is true about most of the things life puts in front of us. We can choose to deal with them, or not. Everything (well, almost everything) is a choice. But as soon as we say "I can't" we abdicate. That, too, is a choice. And we must be responsible for it.

    That said, I have felt severely challenged on many things, many times, even writing. But you are still right,I choose what to do about it, even if I sometimes choose to run and hide for a bit. Fortunately the pity party doesn't usually last long.

  2. Well in with the astute observation. I wish I didn't choose 'not to' in many areas of my life, as I do…but I do choose to do father dutifully. 😉

  3. "I got my start in journalism and writer’s block is simply not permitted there. So, I don’t permit it now." Word. When you have ten minutes to write a five-minute newscast, writer's block isn't an option….

  4. I think writing every day exercises a mental muscle that keeps a certain part of our brains in peak condition. And we all need that muscle to be at its best. Just as you can't run a marathon from a standing start on the sofa, you can't write /well/ when you've spent 6 months doing nothing but watching the tv!

    We're athletes of the mind and we have to train! Every day 😀

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