Develop a writing routine

The Shocking Truth About Writer’s Block is Simple.

It’s that horrible feeling when you sit down to write, but instead of finding that creative flow pouring out – you sit paralyzed, staring at your computer screen & seething at the impossible task of…words.

Everybody who’s tried communicating with words has felt it: a paralyzing barrier between the idea you want to share & the ability to actually Get. It. Out!

I’ve felt it too. Sometimes I got over it & hammered out the piece I was working on – resistance be damned –  & sometimes I was beaten by it.

I’ve sat staring at a blank page in a notebook, an empty blog post screen or a blinking cursor on the white blank page of my University thesis (traumatized) & nothing has come out of me – no matter how hard I stared.

I’ve given up before. I’ve run away from my keyboard in a cold sweat – feeling frustrated & unsatisfied, and I’ve procrastinated on Facebook & Netflix too.

I’ve felt like whatever it is that makes my writing good is just not here for me when I need it, so why bother trying?

I’ve had…(duh duh duhhhhh)…Writers’ Block!

But I want to tell you a secret.That? is NOT actually Writer’s Block. Because there is no such thing as Writer’s Block.

The feeling is real – don’t get me wrong – but there is no outside force keeping you from writing your pithy prose or witty words. There is no benevolent muse or inspiration magic that will set you alight with an idea either.

It’s all you, baby – win lose or draw. You are either writing that jazz, or you are not. No ethereal force can be credited or blamed for the results. That’s where the real problems with calling it Writer’s Block show up.

You’re making it about something outside of your self: a mythical, fictional, vague presence that you can blame or praise for your failures or your successes.

And that is a major problem, and I’ll tell you why:

1. You give up control over what happens next.

There’s no way around it. Writing is hard, but if you give up control over the outcome in this way, you can give up on sharing your message FAR too easily. You get to blame that scary, malevolent beast of Writer’s Block and then run away the victim, without any blame. Right?


Here’s the thing: you can’t give up the control & responsibility of driving a car when there’s nobody else ready to grab the wheel. If you stop steering, it’s your fault when the car crashes.

Writer’s Block isn’t sitting there trying to grab the wheel from you, & Inspiration isn’t waiting for the chance to push down on the accelerator.

If you let go of that control, it’s on you.

Writer's Block isn't taking the wheel from you. Inspiration isn't either. It's on you to do the work & write! Click To Tweet

2. You give up credit when you shouldn’t.

The other side of this whole thing – & it’s a reeeeeally important one to me – is that we stop taking credit for the work that goes into writing really really powerful stories. By taking it from ourselves when it doesn’t work, we also take it from ourselves when it does.

I used to sit down at the keyboard (or with a notebook & pen) & just wait for it to come pouring out. The problem is that it sometimes did, so I believed that it would work that way again & again…until it didn’t.

That’s when I took myself out of the equation & started using the Writer’s Block & Inspiration excuses.

When I wrote those beautiful poems, or those clever & interesting essays, it was because I was Inspired. When I sat & stared & couldn’t muster up so much as a coherent sentence? All the fault of Writer’s Block!

Except…I wrote those poems! That was me who crafted those essays & stories. Why am I giving credit to a thing that’s not even real, for the work & skill & talent I have been building for all these years?

Because if I give the credit for all my hard work to Inspiration, I get to blame Writer’s Block for the times I don’t want to put the work in! Tidy, huh?

Listen! You are the writer & the creator of your message; your creativity is not at the whim of some mythical outside force. You aren’t a passive conduit for a vague cloud of word-magic.

Stop blaming Writer's Block for how difficult it is. Start working on making it easier. Click To Tweet

3. You make it impossible to fix.

This is the biggest biggie of all of my 3 big reasons to can thoughts of Writers’ Block.

If you aren’t honest with yourself about why your writing project is hiding under seven tabs of social media and buzz feed articles, you will never – EVER – be able to fix it & get that piece written.

Seriously! You’re blaming your problem on a fictional thing. Can I blame Work-Out-Block for the extra 10 pounds I should lose? Can I blame the Waking-Up-On-Time-Block for my eleventh Snooze this morning? Nope!

I have to look at why I’m actually not working out (I dislike going to the gym) and then solving that actual problem (go for a walk or run around the lake nearby); I have to look at why I’m actually hitting that snooze button (I stayed up waaaaay too late) & fix that problem (errr…get off the internetz at bedtime).

Otherwise? I’m not really trying to fix the problem; I’m trying to excuse it.
If you're waiting for your Muse or blaming Writer's Block for not writing, you're accepting defeat. And that's not ok Click To Tweet

You have all of the tools you need to break through that wall & Design a Writing Process of your own that you can trust – every time you need to create something great.

If Writers’ Block is something that’s been haunting you, there are a few things you can do right now to get rid of it.

  1. If you haven’t already, you should sign up for the free #30DaysWithaK Free-Writing Challenge. It is the single most effective way to unleash your own Voice over time, & I can’t believe I’m giving it all away for free. So get in there & do it!
  2. You should read on to learn how a clear & purposeful Writing Process can save you sanity…& time!
  3. Toss your email address & fave nickname in the opt-in box below, so you don’t miss any of the Writing Tips I share.

Thanks for coming by today! I love hearing from you, so I want to know: what does “Writer’s Block” look like to you?

When does it creep up on you the most, and how do you shake it off?

If you’ve been a reader for a while, we’ve talked about this before (I may even have attached a former comment of yours on the topic), but I want to know: has it changed for you? Why?


Kris Windley

Kris is a writer, editor, illustrator, teacher, mother of two amazing young ladies - and enthusiastic cat-belly snuggler. A certified teacher, long-time blogger and experienced brand consultant, she writes about Writing, Business and Blogging...and sometimes about Changing the World.

Kris Windley

Kris is a writer, editor, illustrator, teacher, mother of two amazing young ladies - and enthusiastic cat-belly snuggler. A certified teacher, long-time blogger and experienced brand consultant, she writes about Writing, Business and Blogging...and sometimes about Changing the World.

You mad? Excited? Have a perspective to share? Please do!


  1. Casey on March 16, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    I understand what you mean with the idea that Writer’s Block is a construct, an invented threshold one may occasionally use to give name to whatever obstacles stand betwixt one and the final product, but at the same time, I really struggle to write. I struggle to find a story idea that feels worthy of the time required to bring it off. I struggle when a story idea feels too far outside my own lived experience to fall in line with the “write what you know” aphorism. I struggle with the idea that I have any “right” to write, that anyone will find any value in anything I say. I’ve experienced some pretty profoundly traumatic things (many of them in early childhood) and as a result of that I have a lot executive dysfunction (largely undiagnosed). Most of the things I’ve written over the course of my life have gone unfinished or been deleted out of an extreme sense of…disgust, I suppose. I can hardly write a sentence but the Greek chorus of naysayers (past English teachers, well-meaning parents and peers, etc.) starts up with their chants of “You are fooling no one. No one wants to hear from you. Your thoughts and feelings are a waste of your time and others’.” I understand that this isn’t writer’s block, but I keep getting the same advice that if I don’t *enjoy* writing then I must not be good at it, must not be meant for it. Far be it from me to suggest that writing can’t be enjoyable or rewarding, but am I the only person who finds it unhelpful and reductive to suggest that the only reason to do anything is because it’s enjoyable? Or easy? Don’t we find the worth of things we do somewhat in the challenges we overcame and the lessons we learnt from “failure”? Am I simply a lazy procrastinator who wants “to have written” because I live in dread of the knowledge that what I write won’t measure up?

    • Kris Windley on April 28, 2021 at 3:16 pm

      There’s a lot there, Casey!

      I feel you on a lot of counts, and I’ll say that yes – we should absolutely avoid telling writers to only write if they like it. Important and skillful things aren’t easy, so they aren’t always going to be enjoyable. But! The value isn’t in the enjoyment of the act alone.

      I think that if we build a robust writing practice and a clear and replicable process (this will help with your difficulties with Executive Function as well), then we can both follow through and finish projects, and also enjoy at least some of the process of writing as well.

      Good luck! I’m struggling along with you.


  2. […] There’s steam dancing from a coffee cup that you can’t even be bothered to sip from, and sun pouring in the office window. But the true beauty of the scene? Unending words! Words slipping, tumbling and pouring through your fingertips and into the world, without even a touch of resistance or block. […]

  3. […] hard enough sometimes. But creative resistance, or writers’ block (if that were a thing: hint- it’s not), make it nearly impossible to put words to the […]

  4. […] 49. The Shocking Truth About Writer’s Block: You might not want to hear this but you need to hear this. […]

  5. Suzy Taylor Oakley on February 13, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I have found that when I just start writing — even if I spend 45 minutes writing crap and then start over from scratch (sometimes even 2 more attempts) — I usually come out with something good.

    Typically that first piece of crap contains something of value that ends up in the final piece, just maybe not how I had envisioned it originally.

    Good post, and I plan to dig into more of your thoughts on this topic. Signing up for your 30-day challenge now. Thanks!

    • KrisWithaK on February 14, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks, Suzy!

      Letting it all out like that will often help you mine some of the gems out. It’s really important to let your writing happen in stages to be able to find those gems & polish them up.

      Let me know how the Challenge goes!


  6. Patty McGuire on November 5, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    The outlining process you teach has helped me with this SO MUCH!!! It gives a framework, and with that I find I can get busy. Of course, I’m only into my first real month of following the new process, so we’ll see where I am in another year.

    Are you sure Workout Block isn’t a real thing?


    • KrisWithaK on November 7, 2015 at 10:28 am

      Hahah Oh Patty. I think the workout block thing might actually be going on here too 😉

      I’m glad you’re giving outlining a try. It takes some time, working with your own Writing Process to find the way it needs to work for you. Keep it up!


  7. iHanna on November 5, 2015 at 7:14 am

    Great post! I have heard about this before, that the writers block is myth we use as an excuse, and I agree. But still, as you write, it is HARD. Hard work, and hard to get going. My writers block excuse right now is that I haven’t been writing for so many days and weeks, that it feels like I’ve forgotten how to do it. How to sit still and get anything out.

    I write awesome texts in my head, haha, but when I have the opportunity to write on the computer, it’s so much easier to check blogs instead of writing. Like I’m doing right now… 🙂

    • KrisWithaK on November 5, 2015 at 11:12 am

      It really IS hard, isn’t it, Hanna?

      This is another thing we tell ourselves that is damaging though – that it’s easy for other people, but I just CAN’T. It’s equally hard for *everyone* & only gets easier as you do it.

      If you’re feeling like you need to practise some more, you should TOTALLY join the #30DaysWithaK Challenge ( to get prompts & tips every day to help you loosen up & find your Voice every day for 30.


  8. […] few weeks ago, I talked about how that freezing sensation has nothing to do with Writers’ Block, so what does that leave us with? How do we deal with it, if we can’t blame it on the […]

  9. Trish on April 14, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Yep, “Writer’s Block” rears its ugly head when I have not prepared, am writing about something I really don’t feel passionate about, OR when I have procrastinated (cuz I love to wait till the 11th hour!) and feel rushed. It’s a cycle! I’m trying to be better prepared this year by using an editorial calendar, BUT not holding myself strictly to it. For ex., if I have to talk about Earth Day on my editorial calendar, but get to if and find I have no words, then I can switch the topic. The deal is something HAS to be posted monthly. It gives me deadlines, but with wiggle room allowed. 🙂

    • KrisWithaK on April 15, 2015 at 8:54 am

      Wiggle deadlines are the BEST! I love it, Trish.

      The editorial calendar is KEY to keeping you writing something with a purpose for your readers – and keeping the decision making on one side of the writing process and the creative work on the other.


  10. Andrea on April 1, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    Ah yes, writer’s block. When I was taking writing classes at school (and felt I had a lot to prove) it reared it’s ugly head weekly, right in time with each week’s assignment…and was only “cured” at the eleventh hour when that assignment HAD to be handed in. Amazing all the things we can find to do when we should be writing….. Over the years I have noticed a pattern – the more important the piece of writing, the more likely I will want to avoid it. So I have learned that I just need to show up, set small deadlines, and if things are really dire, offer myself rewards. (It seems I do respond to bribery….). Great post!

    • KrisWithaK on April 2, 2015 at 11:09 pm

      SO SO SO true, Andrea! I’m a major deadline-ostrich too sometimes, but it’s all me. As soon as I put the responsibility and potential back on myself, I can come back from the edge…

      And yes, it’s often riiiight at the wire that the realization will come 😉


  11. Amanda Sue on April 1, 2015 at 12:44 am

    It slaps the shi-doodles out of me every freakin’ November. That’s right baby, NaNoWriMo. I spend all of October psyching myself up (or out!?), and telling myself that THIS is the year I’ll do it. Then the last week of October, I start devolving…I’ve never managed to do it before…maybe I should go to the rebel camp & short story it…should I even bother doing it at all? And then yup…another November comes & goes, and still no novel, or novella, or even a short story to show for it. Not even a gosh darn limerick.

    • Sarah Shotts on April 2, 2015 at 1:18 am

      Funny you say that Amanda Sue! The whole time I was reading all I could think was, “this needs to be circulated ALL OVER the NaNoWriMo forums.” 🙂

      • KrisWithaK on April 2, 2015 at 11:07 pm

        Oh man! Don’t get me started on Nano! It’s all kinds of a hurtful process for SO many writers. I know the deadline and camaraderie gives accountability to a lot of writers, but there are as many and more who get throttled by it.

        I’ve been thinking for a while about how to make a Nano for grownups that encourages the pieces of good storytelling and writing practices that you can withstand for longer than a month.

        Maybe we’ll have to do something this year that’s more doable for us 😉


    • KrisWithaK on April 2, 2015 at 11:11 pm

      NO no no no no! Nano is – at its most basic – a cool idea…but it’s set up to hamstring thoughtful writers. Don’t worry about it if the speed race isn’t your thing. The most prolific and well-versed of writers would balk at the concept of mashing out a word tally in 30 days. Not because they aren’t hardcore – but because everyone has to have their own process that works for THEM.

      Nano is not that process for 99.999999% of the people I’ve come in contact with. We’ll get you writing on your own terms, Amanda, and it will be a beautiful thing 🙂


  12. Cindy on March 31, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    Great post Kris. Really enjoyed it and makes so much sense. Looking forward to more.

    • KrisWithaK on April 2, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      Thanks Cindy!
      I can’t wait to see your blog when you get it started. I loved hanging out the other day!

  13. Jill on March 31, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Awesome post Kris, looking forward to the rest of the series

    • KrisWithaK on April 2, 2015 at 11:13 pm

      Thanks Jill!

      We’re going to expand this idea next week, and hopefully come up with some but-then-whats to get us out of whatever that slump really is, if it isn’t Writer’s Block after all 😉


  14. Nalana on March 31, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Great post! I think taking accountability in writing or any aspect of your life or business is so important. It’s easy to hide behind the excuses and check out. I admit that I struggle with writing – but it’s my fault. I let fear take over and my confidence starts to wobble. I am confident in so many parts of my life, but writing on a blog is daunting. To help find inspiration I’ve been looking at articles in the newspaper, writing down thoughts that occur to me about general life stuff (my cat, my teenager, volunteering) and just basically giving myself over to the idea that my blog posts can be musings – just random things. So I’ve planned at least one post a week for the next two months to be my Monday musings. Everything else is more biz related. But that post is me chatting about things…and somehow that’s taken some of the fear out of the writing or the idea of writing for the coming weeks.

    • KrisWithaK on April 2, 2015 at 11:15 pm

      It’s not about fault Nalana – so don’t beat yourself up. It’s about responsibility and freedom. You have the freedom to create whatever message you want, and you have the responsibility to show up even when it feels uncomfortable to do so…or accept responsibility for not moving forward.

      I love the idea of a more free-writing style practice to loosen up your Voice. It’s one of the things I encourage all of my students to do in one way or another. I love that it’s helping you too!


  15. richelle on March 31, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    NAILED it. I totally suffer from fake writer’s block. And I know it’s because I have waited til the last minute, not properly planned, skipped the outline, plowed ahead and just tried “riffing”, or usually all of the above. The worst. Well, one of my resolutions for 2015 was to create a more systematic approach to my work. It’s going pretty well in most aspects but I haven’t yet gotten proactive with my writing. Hitting that hard in this 2nd Quarter!!


    • KrisWithaK on April 2, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      YESSSSSIR! I still do this stuff. I’m a big “Do as I say – not as I do” kind of teacher sometimes 😉 When I let go of the process and start riffing, it gets untrustworthy again, and I get really uncomfortable – REALLY fast.

      We’ll get you set up with your own writing system, sista! You just wait.


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