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Monday Moments: Dealing With The Dreaded Writer’s Block

Introduced By Amber Hall

This month, we’re continuing with the theme ‘Overcoming’ and I’ve been thinking about how it relates to writer’s block – a dreaded phenomenon for most.

Writer’s block is broadly defined as a psychological condition and can occur at any point in a writer’s journey. It’s something I’ve experienced myself, although I didn’t name it as such at the time. As someone who struggles not to fill up every spare second of their day (distraction is my modus operandi, I’ll admit), I don’t always prioritise my creativity in the way I should. I also have a tendency to approach writing with a seriousness that can be limiting and forget that creativity is play. As writers, we can experiment; we can allow ourselves the freedom to enjoy the process and see where it takes us.

I still find it difficult to claim the word ‘writer’ for myself. Working-class folk like me are told that such lofty pursuits aren’t for us; that we’re being ridiculous – indulgent, even – investing in our own creativity. Plus, I have to make money, and I’m still not getting paid to tell my own stories, although I am grateful to be able to write for a living. Even so, time is actually money when you don’t have access to private wealth.

And then there’s that niggling voice, one I’m sure many of us are familiar with, that says I’m just not good enough. I was speaking with a writer friend of mine the other day about how painstaking the process of writing can be, particularly if you’re prone to perfectionism. She told me it can take her hours to pen just a few hundred words and, I must admit, I felt relieved to hear her say it. I thought I was the only one!

We all have obstacles that can get in the way of our writing and need to understand our personal barriers and put strategies in place to manage them. I’ve learned that, in order for me to write, I need to be intentional about my work and set myself a proper schedule. I’m lucky enough to be able to attend writing workshops and the odd retreat (one of which I’ll be doing this weekend), which is helpful if I need to move forward with a project or a particular piece of work. By gifting myself the time and space needed to focus, I find I can make real headway and always come away feeling invigorated.

It’s important to build a creative community for yourself, too, so you have somewhere to take the feelings that come up when you hit a wall. It’s a gift to have people around you who understand the pitfalls of writing, because you’re bound to run into the unique challenges that come with it at some point.

However you do it, I wish you all a fruitful month of writing. In the following pieces, our contributors reflect on how they handle a creative impasse and what they do to keep going in spite of the blocks they encounter along the way.


First, we have a poem by Jilly Henderson-Long, who writes about overcoming blank pages and dead ends by drawing on her inner strength and self-belief.

Je Ne Cederai Pas

(I Will Not Give In)

I need to dig myself
out of this hole,
as I’m stuck on a level
with nowhere to go.
I write and I write.
The ideas keep flowing,
but sadly, I’ve no idea
where I am going.
I so love to create
either fiction or verse
and I know I’ve been given
a great way with words.
So my motivation
must come from within.
I’ll dig my way out,
and write till I win.
I know I can do it.
I just have to see
that writing is all that I need.
to be me.

© Jilly Henderson-Long, 2024 

Connect with Jilly on X: @Jilly52144833 and LinkedIn:


 In this prose piece, Niema Bohrayba reflects on how she’s developing an authentic voice that’s distinct from her professional one. I love the sense of freedom coming through in the description of her daily creative practice, and the evident joy she’s found in it.

Overcoming Creative Blocks And Finding My Authentic Voice

I have long found my writing to be stifled in some way. My written words don’t align with my thoughts; almost like my brain is applying some kind of invisible filter! This can happen for myriad reasons and, in my case, I think it’s because I’ve become accustomed to writing for a corporate audience, where taking myself out of my words and writing in the third person is expected. Since I’m in the process of writing my first book, I thought it was high time I put in place some strategies to help my words find their natural flow.

I started by reflecting on my approach to writing in general, and noticed I even struggled to write much in my journal, preferring to draw, paint and doodle as a means to reflect and capture my thoughts. So, I decided to incorporate this creative outlet into the start of my daily writing practice. Fast forward a few weeks into this approach and I’m finding it’s really helping me to set the scene for my writing, so that I approach it as a fun and creative activity, as opposed to a formality. I now call this my daily ‘creative appointment’.

With my approach sorted, I needed to carve out the time for when this creative endeavour would take place. Since we’re now heading towards summer in the Northern Hemisphere and enjoying brighter mornings, this seems to be the best time to host my ‘creative appointment’ before I become tangled up with the busy-ness of the day ahead. I’m sure I will review this as the seasons change but can decide on that later.

Reading my work out loud helps me capture when it’s more ‘me’ and when it’s verging on the robotic, so I use this method as a form of editing and, so far, it’s been quite effective.

I designate at least one of my ‘creative appointments’ every week to free writing, where I just allow myself to write anything that comes to mind without paying any attention to grammar, structure or topic. For some reason, this reminds me of the joy of playing on a swing when I was little, evoking feelings of complete freedom. Sometimes, I read some of my ‘free writing’ and am amazed by how many different themes are present on the page. It’s like a download of my unconscious mind, and it feels so liberating.

Lastly, I like to prepare my space with a sprinkle of my favourite aromatic natural oils in a diffuser, as this enhances my ability to be present for my writing.

These are some of the approaches I’m experimenting with at the moment to try and make my writing more aligned with my authentic voice. It’s an evolving process which I will review and tweak as needed in the future.

© Niema Bohrayba, 2024


Lastly, Mirabel Lavelle has kindly provided her top tips for overcoming writer’s block, giving us an insight into how she personally tackles this.

A Strategy For Unlocking Writer’s Block

When I get stuck:

  1. I ask myself questions to try and get to the bottom of the ‘Why?’ It could be the topic is challenging, there’s stuff going on in my head, or simply too many deadlines (i.e. my workload).
  2. I like a change of scene, even just walking to the back of the house, making a comforting warm drink and looking into the garden (more of a backyard!).
  3. At other times, I close the laptop, curl up on the sofa and scribble by hand. Even a bit of free writing can get things moving.
  4. Diagrams, particularly spider diagrams.
  5. A few weeks ago, I found writing about myself challenging. I was either rambling on or writing as if filling a job form. So, I stopped and used some of the above strategies in order to find my unique voice, let my identity shine through and tackle the piece coherently.

© Mirabel Lavelle, 2024

You can follow Mirabel on Instagram: @writebymirabel and X: @Mirabel20287342, and get updates on her work via her website:


Issue 20 is available to read online here, you can also find it in libraries and other outlets. Read previous editions of our magazines here

You can hear great new ideas, creative work and writing tips on Write On! Audio. Find us on all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Google Podcasts and Spotify. Type Pen to Print into your browser and look for our logo, or find us on


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Writing with seriousness can be limiting; we shouldn’t forget that creativity is play!