Punch the Boogeyman in the Throat

“One reason I don’t suffer from writer’s block is that I don’t wait on the muse, I summon it at need.” – Piers Anthony

I know some people will hate me for saying this, but there is no such thing as writer’s block.

Writer’s block is built on shaky self-confidence and not much else. It’s like being afraid of the boogeyman. We can all relate, but there is nothing there. Get out of bed and if something grabs you, punch it in the throat. It’s probably your significant other. That will teach them.

Chances are, you can think of something to write. You just can’t convince yourself that it is going to be worth a crap. Then it snowballs. You become convinced your ideas suck. Then you start thinking that your writing sucks. Next, you are questioning whether you are really meant to be a writer, at all.


There is nothing to writing. You just do it. Writing well is difficult. Writing something original is next to impossible. But the act of writing is as simple as breathing. The only way to get something good or original is to take that first breath and write.

Writer’s block is about thinking. Writing isn’t about thinking. It’s about writing. Re-writing is about thinking. So, don’t think. Write.

It sounds simple because it is. The idea of writer’s block is complex. Look for the simplest possible answer. Some writers get blocked because they are hung up on rules and expectations. Forget rules. Forget expectations. You are either writing or you are not.

Stressed out and can’t focus? Write about why you are stressed out and can’t focus. Get all that crap out of your system and feed it to a story so it can do some good. It doesn’t matter if no one reads it.

Some of you are still skeptical. There has to be more to it, something scientific. Fine. There is a theory that writer’s block may be related to the instinctual fight or flight survival mechanism. When you get stressed out, you lock up.

You’ve come to the right guy. I happen to be an expert in that area as it relates to teaching self-defense. I’ve studied the psychological and physiological aspects of combat. I’ve studied martial arts for over ten years. I constantly help people overcome that instinct to freeze in stressful situations. I accomplish that by training people in stressful situations. I show them they have the ability to fight back, even when their instinct is to freeze.  I give them confidence that they can act in any situation. If they are stressed, they can still fight. If they are hurt, they can still fight. If they are exhausted, they can still fight.

Apply this to writing. If you feel blocked, write anyway.  If it is crap, that’s okay, keep writing. The more you write through stress, the less it will affect your ability to write. The less it affects your ability to write, the more confidence you will have that what you are writing is good.

Stop dwelling on writer’s block. Stop thinking about how everything you write is going to be worthless. Stop considering natural remedies or human sacrifice. Stop reading about writer’s block, as soon as you finish reading all of this week’s posts.

Start writing, and never stop again.

Jack Campbell, Jr. is a dark fiction writer in Lawrence, KS. His writing has appeared in various venues including Twenty 3 Magazine, Danse Macabre, and Insomnia Press. He writes about reading, writing, and life on his blog at www.jackcampbelljr.com.

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