Writer’s Block. Fact or Fiction

by Feb 15, 2024

No matter what you create, blogs, songs, screen plays, television, comedy; whatever it is, from time to time we feel like we’ve hit the wall. But have we really got writers block?

Today when I sat down to write I had no idea what I was going to write about. Because of this I chose the subject of writer’s block.

I often say to my drum students “Inspiration is everywhere” and it truly is. If you’re a writer and you need inspiration on what to write about, all you need to do is a quick Google or YouTube search on the subject matter you wish to write about, and BOOM; an endless supply of inspiration.

That being said I also tell my students, that inspiration will only get you so far. Determination will get you where you want to be.

Now don’t get me wrong there are times when I don’t feel creative or feel like writing. So at those times, I don’t. I simply don’t create anything. Other times I feel very creative but I don’t feel like doing the work. Is that writer’s block or am I just being lazy and not wanting to work? When this happens I’ll do everything except the thing I know I need to do…the work.

If I want to write, the hardest part is just sitting down and starting to write. Really; putting my hands on the keyboard and writing the first sentence is the hardest step. I’ll do everything to sidestep it.

We all have that little voice in our head that justifies our actions and keeps us from doing the work. I’ll tell myself, “After I check my email I’ll start writing.” Then, after I check my email I tell myself “I need another cup of coffee to get started.” I get the coffee, then I say “I’m hungry… let’s see what’s in the fridge.”

I can go on and on but you get the idea. These are simply stall tactics to not write the first sentence.

Next is the excuse stage; and man oh man do I ever have a nice big juicy go-to excuse to not write. Ready?… I have dyslexia. I love that one! I was diagnosed with it in the first or second grade and because of my dyslexia, I’m also a terrible speller! The two seem to go hand in hand. A simple Facebook post with just a few words can be agonizing. Both of these things are very real and very much a pain in the ass. However, they are both extremely manageable as well. It just takes me longer and a little bit more to get the work done. I’ve been writing instructional books, and articles that have been published in music trade magazines, short story books, blogs, and websites for years. So my dyslexia excuse; it just doesn’t hold water.

The next stage is the, “I’m not good enough” stage.

Again, we all have that voice, an inner critic telling us we’re not good enough. This inner critic likes to compare our work to the work of other people or our peers and it tells us it’s not good enough. This voice can be crippling so we need to beat it down.

Another stall and or excuse some people use is what I call the education excuse. They tell themselves “I just need to learn more.” Whether it be an internet course or an in-person class it’s easy to get caught up in the thought process that one needs to learn everything there is to know about a subject before putting themselves and their work out into the world. They get stuck on an endless hunt for “the answer.” They end up having a ton of knowledge but hardly any work to show for it. I’ve also found these people to be the most critical of other people’s work.

I’ve been a drum teacher and a music business coach for over 30 years. I not only make a living teaching, but I also take private drum lessons, attend masterclasses, and go to drum clinics as a way to learn and improve on my skillset. After all, “Man sharpens man like steel sharpens steel.” So I believe we should always be learning and bettering ourselves and our chosen craft or crafts. However, I don’t believe we should allow this to hold ourselves back from getting a body of work done and putting it out into the world.

I have a sign on my desk that reads, “Progress not perfection.” I love that! If you’re reaching for perfection you’re setting yourself up for failure because there’s no such thing as perfection.

Fear that your work won’t be liked or accepted by your peers or the public at large is also known as “imposter syndrome.” This is a very real thing that can stop us at any point or cause us to not put the work out once it’s completed!

There are two books that I highly recommend on this subject to help you get over these hurdles. The first one is “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield. It’s available on Amazon at https://amzn.to/3YruPAi. It’s a fantastic read on breaking through your inner blocks.

The second one is, “The Obstacle is The Way” by Ryan Holiday. It too is available on Amazon at https://amzn.to/3BzE47s. It’s a fantastic read. It helped me understand that the path of least resistance would never get me the results I was looking for in my life.

A leap of faith is needed when embarking on a creative journey. Writing a book, a blog, a song, or a poem is a creative process. From time to time these processes can be difficult to start and for some people, it can be a frightening and daunting task.

You might have it in your mind and your heart but putting your hands on the keys or the pen to paper is the first step. Once the work is done, trust and believe in it. Put it out there for the world to read, see or hear.

When you see someone doing something at the top of their game, or you read a book, or an article, or hear a song you like, those are all the results of hard work. Sometimes a lifetime of work. The people who did those works had the same obstacles and the same fears, but they did it.

In my opinion “writer’s block” is an excuse to either not do the work, or to justify not putting your work out into the world because of the fear of being judged or rejected. Inspiration is everywhere but you need to find the determination that is within you to do the work and get you the results you want. Let go of “writer’s block.” Get into the ring and start swinging and ducking. Do the work. You’ve got this!!

Check out my latest book, The Rhythmuc Journey, available on Hudson Music.


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