B – Writer’s Block…Quotes A-Z April Challenge.

“I deal with writer’s block by lowering my expectations.

I think the trouble starts when you sit down to write

and imagine that you will achieve something magical

and magnificent — and when you don’t, panic sets in.

The solution is never to sit down and imagine that you

will achieve something magical and magnificent. I write

a little bit, almost every day, and if it results in two or

three or (on a good day) four good paragraphs, I

consider myself a lucky man. Never try to be the hare.

All hail the tortoise.”

― Malcolm Gladwell

My theme for this year’s A-Z April Blogging Challenge is motivational quotes for writers and creatives working on ambitious, long term projects like writing a book.

Today, we address B for Writer’s Block.

Not unsurprisingly, Writer’s Block is almost synonymous with writing and volumes have been written about strategies for overcoming block and keeping the flow going and even overflowing.

What doesn’t get talked about and is equally important for many writers and creatives, is creative overflow. I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced overflow but it’s when the creativity takes off and becomes all consuming, making it difficult to attend to the necessities of life and especially switching the idea off, slowing your brain down and trying to to get to sleep.

The aim therefore, especially when you’re working on a big, long term project like writing a novel or any kind of book, is to somehow tread the balance between the two. Stimulate yourself enough to get things moving, but if you’re prone to overflow, you might need to take deliberate steps to de-stimulate yourself. I find going for a walk can help keep myself on an even keel.

I also liked the above quote from Malcolm Gladwell because I think anyone trying to write a book has to have high expectations, yet at the same time lower those expectations to get through all the grind which goes along with it and to ride through the ups and downs involved.

By the way, I strongly recommend reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers. The really spoke to me, was the 10,000 hour rule which argues that 10,000 hours of considered practice are required to reach the top of your field. Or, as we have always been told: “practice makes perfect”.

How to you deal with writer’s block? Have you ever experienced writer’s overflow? I’d love to hear from you. 

Best wishes,



9 thoughts on “B – Writer’s Block…Quotes A-Z April Challenge.

  1. maxwellthedog

    I think it was Bruce Lee who said something like, “Do not fear the man who practices 10,000 punches; fear the one who practices one punch 10,000 times.”

  2. Wolf of Words

    Yeah, the key to getting past writer’s block for me is to write anything to get my momentum up and clear my head. Then I can maybe use that material in the project or another one.

  3. Rowena Post author

    That’s a brilliant quote, Tom. As you might recall, I am learning the violin and I’m just starting to play concertos and more difficult pieces where you really do need to pull it apart and practice small sections over and over and over again. So, that quotes really resonates with me.
    It’s also been interesting finding out how my daughter is taught her dance solos. She has just started a new lyrical solo and she’s had three private lessons on it so far and hasn’t seen the whole dance. She has only been given a bit. That confounds me somewhat because I always try to play a piece once through and then focus on the bits so I know where I’m heading.
    I find it interesting how different disciplines teach new work. I’m fascinated by how people think.
    Best wishes,

  4. jeremyjames

    I like seth godin and steven pressfield on writer’s block….basically that it’s not really a thing when you’re a pro. something to aim towards

  5. Rowena Post author

    I read Steven Pressfield’s War of Art a few years ago and loved it and should probably pick it up and flick through it again now that I’m really knuckling down on this massive project, given the amount of research as well as writing that’s involved being biographical short fiction.Each story is very intensely researched from multiple angles and it’s not so much the writer’s block that’s the issue. It’s the getting away from the research and back to the writing and joining all the dots.
    I have to be fairly disciplined with myself here and yet the meandering researcher is just as important because I’ve been finding all sorts of links such as one of my people who owned a pub lic house in Chelsfield Kent being in Dickens territory and time frame work. That naturally adds weight to the story but I now find myself reading “The Little Curiosity Shop”…not a minor diversion but an important asddition to my research and writing mix.
    Best wishes,

  6. Rowena Post author

    That’s a great idea. Sometimes when I’m stuck, I start diarizing about the blockage and thqt untangled it. I do like the advice to take action, write and I remember one piece of advice from Twyla Tharp about moving around like doing star jumps to jolt away the block. I might also go for a walk, although my walking of late has become more of a theoretical concept. I’ve als read about Dickens going for walks!
    Best wishes,

  7. jeremyjames

    I guess that’s dealing with overload and prioritising as much as writers block. Pressfields concept of resistance is always good running on the hardware isn’t it. A good book

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