Dealing with Writer’s Block

How to keep your cursor moving.

By Jonelle Seitz, Online Writing Lab Coordinator

Comedian Steve Martin once said, “Writer’s block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.” We know he was joking (isn’t Steve Martin always joking?) because anyone who has written as many books, magazine pieces, and plays as he has cannot have avoided writer’s block.

What is writer’s block? (Psych students, hold off — it’s not in the DSM.) Feel free to self-diagnose. Can’t figure out how to get started? Do you repeatedly write a line and then delete it in disgust? Have you found yourself in the middle of a paper without any idea of what you’re doing there? Sure, you have writer’s block! Here are some resources to help.

  • Overcoming Writer’s Block: This St. Edward’s University Writing Center handout suggests that maybe, if you’re stuck, you need to read your sources a bit more carefully, do some prewriting to develop your purpose and strategy, or work with a consultant in the Writing Center (or anyone else who can give you some smart perspective on your writing project).
  • How to Crush Writer’s Block: This episode of Austin’s own Two Guys on Your Head podcast investigates the psychological and emotional reasons why writers get stuck and how they can get unstuck.
  • And finally, the Writer’s Block Instant Cure:
Writer’s Block Instant Cure by FAST Screenplay

Follow any of this advice and you’ll be writing fluently again in no time. Happy writing!


This post was originally published on the St. Edward’s University Online Writing Lab blog on January 25, 2017.