Some writers argue that “writer’s block” isn’t real. It’s just an excuse to use when we’d rather procrastinate than get to work on our writing projects.
There’s a quote attributed to William Faulkner: “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.”
Similarly, in Jack London’s 1905 essay on how to become a published writer, London observed, “Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.”
London believed that writing daily was the best way to rouse the sleeping Muse. He advised, “Set yourself a ‘stint,’ and see that you do that ‘stint’ each day; you will have more words to your credit at the end of the year.”
And, yet, many other famous authors wouldn’t have found London’s advice very helpful. Check out several famous writers complaining about how they can no longer write here.
Franz Kafka, for example, once lamented in his journal,
“How time flies; another ten days and I have achieved nothing. It doesn’t come off. A page now and then is successful, but I can’t keep it up, the next day I am powerless.”
Maybe you’re like me and sometimes feel more like Kafka than Faulkner and London. You sit down at your computer to begin writing, but instead you find yourself having a stare down with the blank screen. You may type a few lines, but after several minutes you delete everything. You just can’t seem to find the right words to continue.
It’s as if your inspiration inkwell has suddenly dried up. What can you do? How can you get back in your creative flow?
Thankfully, many famous writers have shared their methods for how they overcame dry periods and became successful writers.
Read on for several different strategies seven famous authors have used to overcome writer’s block and keep writing away.