Turn the Negatives into Positives – How to Look at Your Writing Block in a New Light



storm-clooud Yesterday I had a ponder about where I am at, eight months into my writing life. I was listening to the inner gremlins and believing what they said and was feeling very down about the lack of commitment and writing I have managed this August.

What we have to realise is failures are just set backs and they happen to every writer. We are unlikely to experience a writing life without rejection, we can change the way we respond to such things to keep our motivation high and to guarantee we don’t tread water or give up.

I spent Friday researching (my way of feeling better about not writing), I watched some TED talks and video clips of famous best selling authors talking about their craft. Many mentioned set backs. Something familiar to all of us.

Instead of allowing the inner gremlins to get a hold of me any further I concentrated on turning my thoughts around.

I am not writing this month, however I stepped back to January and mentally logged all the success and writing that wouldn’t even exist if I hadn’t woken up and fed my starving creative spirit to begin with.



Where there is bad there is always good, for every gremlin that calls out retorts there is a writing warrior to combat them. With thoughts alone I hushed them. (At this point I feel it necessary to point out I am not actually hearing voices, I refer to the thoughts we all have during writing or resting from writing. The monsters inside us that try to kybosh whatever project or dream we have set our heart on.)

  • Spend energy on writing instead of wallowing.
  • Make the change. Be the change. Own it.
  • Allow yourself time away from writing. Rest is important for creativity to thrive.
  • I can make it happen and I will. BELIEVE.
  • Give your overloaded mind a break.



I read many articles yesterday which seemed to answer the questions I was thinking, including a scientific article about how our brains work. It is a neurological proven fact that we compartmentalise our thoughts. Normally we can manage 7 simultaneous thoughts – when we are stressed this is reduced to only 5… as most of my days are filled with at least this many thoughts about the house and my working future it is no small wonder that I am currently struggling to write anything down!

The advice is the same wherever I look, if you are tired ‘take a break!’ allow yourself permission to down tools.

Sometimes you can no longer juggle – you have to put the balls down to wipe your hands (and brow)!

MOVING FORWARD (without a pen in hand)


Consider all your successes.

Concentrate on these – they are positive and will hush your negative gremlins. Mine include;

writers I have met, friends I have made, websites I have found, opportunities for submission, expanding my knowledge, training in genres, participating in online courses, influences and inspiration I have discovered.

And here are some tips I have picked up for moving on from this BLOCK.

  1. Focus on the process of writing rather than the result. (This will take the pressure off.)
  2. Take a break, allocate some time away from writing, but make sure you return.
  3. Don’t give up!
  4. Declutter your writing space. (Cluttered space, cluttered mind.)


If you are suffering set backs, blocks or a lack of motivation – make a plan. ‘There is no beginning too small.’ Here’s mine.


  • Cultivate my inspiring angel voice – the writing warrior inside me who can tell the writing gremlins to shut up. Dispel negative thoughts by turning them around (like a battery has a positive and negative end – so too do my thoughts!)


  • Create a daily writing habit (something I have abandoned) this can be as simple as 10 minutes a day of journal/ freewriting in a notebook, you don’t even need to get out of bed!


  • Start loving your writing and the process of writing again.


  • Don’t give up! Giving up will only make you feel worse.


  • Be gentle on yourself.


Happy writing!

12 responses »

  1. That sounds like a very good plan, not just for writing, but for living as well. We all have gremlins, (mine are demons!) whose voices can be hard to tune out. The trick is to turn up the volume of the positive til that’s all you hear.
    You have set yourself a course that will help, I think, you recover your writing voice. Your inspiring angel may just have stepped out for a moment, and will return soon, I’m sure. My muse/angel often needs a week at spa!
    Good luck. I’m looking forward to reading how things are going.
    Two tricks I use: compile quotes/lyrics I like or that have some meaning (now or then) — similar to Kellie’s free write Friday. Think about why you chose these. Don’t have to write anything down other than the quote and that’s my other trick — write in my head — tell myself the story and see where it goes.

    • Funny you should mention demons – I kept having to delete that word and replace with gremlins (which on the whole seemed a little more friendly!) I like the idea of my inspiring angel being in a spa… she has obviously checked in for the month! Maybe I should follow her lead!

      I like the lyric idea – I might start searching for the exact lyric to match where I am at – that in itself is likely to produce some ideas and writing.

      • Some of my favo(u)rite lyricists seem to have a direct link to my thoughts and feelings.
        I’ve often thought it would be interesting “write” a memoir using lyrics that express/reflect the different stages.
        Good luck with your lyric search; I hope it helps to open at least a small crack of your writing block.

      • I think Music works that way – we key into it at a heart and soul level – often the words can express how we feel better than we can. I like your memoir idea – maybe you should try it, start it on your blog 🙂 I think I am cracking the writing block now – I feel much happier this week (birthday week – does wonders for the spirit!) and I have thrown myself into the blog writing challenges and started to generate ideas for my next work.

      • First, happy birthday. And, did you know that you also have 364 unbirthdays (with an extra one in leap year!)
        Glad to hear that you are cracking that writer’s block. Doing writing challenges might make further cracks and give you ideas/inform your other writings!

      • Thanks. I am well used to unbirthdays (thanks to Disney) my actual birthday is tomorrow but the celebrations start today and I plan to make full use of it falling on a weekend. I will be partied out by Sunday evening I am sure!
        I have made sure that throughout the month – despite suffering a block on my own projects that I still write for the challenges in blogland. You can see which ones I do in ‘Contribute’.
        They are a great way to crack the writing gremlins. As is free writing, as I suggested in the Part 2 post I am trying to free write (journal write) waking thoughts daily, sometimes they turn out snippets that I can go back to when muse comes back from whatever holiday it has taken itself on this summer!

      • You are the very first person who not only understands unbirthdays, but also know its source. Many folks think I came up the idea; I then “come clean” and evoke Lewis Carroll and Alice in Wonderland.
        My memory is very poor, so if I say anything redundant, or comment on one post (like I haven’t read it) in reference to a previous post (as if I skipped that one too),
        it doesn’t mean I haven’t read either post or ensuing comments — I just forgot what I have read.
        May your muse return (perhaps from a seaside resort, a mountain spa retreat or a hike through Patagonia) well rested, and ready to get back at it.

      • This afternoon I was thinking about using lyrics as memoir. My taste in music, while eclectic, hasn’t moved in to the 21st century. It will be historic in two senses!

  2. Don’t worry it is hard to keep track with blog posts and different blogs at the best of times. I have been proudly celebrating unbirthdays since I was about 9 I think! And have my father to thank for reading Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass to me as a child! Have always loved the madness of the world Lewis Carroll created!

    I like the idea my free-spirited muse has just gone off for a wonder and return anytime soon… all the more poignant as I have no summer holiday this year, having bought a house instead!

    Did have a short break in Poland back in February though, so at least my passport has been dusted off and another culture enjoyed!

  3. Pingback: Hit a Writing Dip? Stay Motivated | awritersfountain

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