How to Overcome Writers’ Obstacles

Writing can be hard work when there are obstacles standing in your way.

Every time we sit down to write, there’s always something trying to stop the writing groove.

Here’s how to combat those pesky things that want to thwart your writing. As always, don’t expect sensible advice.

Writer’s Block

Sorry but I do not buy into this ‘writer’s block isn’t real’ thing. Anyone who states this has never known the excruciating agony of whacking your head against the desk to make the ideas come out. The writer’s block struggle is real.

Here’s how you combat that block; ignore it. Honestly, just pretend it’s not there.

Writer’s block is a diva who wants all the attention. If you picture it as a whiny toddler having a tantrum, you’re winning. Tantrums increase when they’re given attention. Ask any mother who has had a two-year-old in full-on diva strop in a supermarket.

Merrily go about all your other business and reject that whinger block. Fill your mind with other things and deny its existence.

When you refuse to feed the monster, it stops growling.

Cats on the Laptop

How to Overcome Writers' Obstacles - cat on laptopBuy a dummy laptop and make sure it’s heated underneath. This may not work though as your cat is a clever little feline who will notice you’re not tapping away on that particular keyboard.

The only other thing you can try is to write when the cat is sleeping. Type quietly, turn the lights off, and whatever you do, do not move from your desk even to pee.

Cats are built with a writer-in-progress radar. The first sign that you’re working and your laptop becomes a bed once more.

Too Many Ideas

Do you have too many writing ideas knocking around your mind and no time to work on them all? Send them to me. Really. Please.

Failing this, set up an online group for Bereft of Ideas Writers. Give an idea to each writer in need. There’s your charitable donation for the year sorted.


How to Overcome Writers' Obstacles - rejection letterHire a hitman for the person who rejected you. If you’re stupid enough to actually do this, this post never happened and I do not know you.

Stick pictures of those who rejected you on a darts board and enjoy whacking those darts between their eyes. Make sure that person never visits your home and sees a collection of darts up their nostrils.

Sensible advice time – it sometimes happens – grieve the rejection. Feel like crap for a while.

Throw yourself a pity party, complete with a huge chocolate cake for one. Remember parties have to end. Once the shindig is over, wipe the cake crumbs off your chin, and prepare to go back into the fray.

Imposter Syndrome

Many writers feel like frauds. We question if we can actually write, will anyone ever buy our novels, and are we selling out by being writers.

The best way to get over imposter syndrome is to change your identity.

Adopt a really weird pen name like Dame Petunia Prissy Pants. Own your alter ego while laughing in the face of feeling like an imposter. You have made yourself a legitimate imposter and therefore are now real. Make sense? No? Standard.

Lack of Support

How to Overcome Writers' Obstacles - no supportYour family and friends never ask about your writing, moan about the time you take writing, and don’t ever buy your books? Get rid of them all.

Become a recluse and never speak to an unsupportive soul ever again. Be lonely.

Or you could just say that they have their thing and you have yours? They may not read your genre or read at all.

You cannot please everyone. Focus on those who do support you. They will always make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Never-ending Revisions

Get it right first time, you amateur. Just kidding, put your pens down and stop making those stabbing actions.

Sorry, writing friends. Revisions have to happen. Until someone invites technology that edits to perfection as you write, you will have to keep churning those drafts out.

For those of you who are on your eleventy-billionth draft though, put it down. You are just playing with commas now. Step back and chill the hell out.


How to Overcome Writers' Obstacles - editingSorry, I can’t make this stop either. Even when you hire a pro to do it for you you’ve got to do something with it when it comes back.

How about you get a load of mates down the pub, keep them in drinks, and give each of them a few pages to edit for you? Call it a community project.

Make it clear the only payment is in beer and no future royalties. A word of caution, keep the beer count low. Sozzled people tend not to edit well. Not that I’ve ever tried this, honest guv.

Getting Published

Blowed if I know.

When you know the magic formula for how to snag an agent, get a publishing contract, sell oodles of books, and have fame and fortune, for the love of writing, please let me know.

Over to You

What writing obstacles have you faced and did you overcome them? How? Sensible or silly answers are welcome.

Any comments are welcome, to be honest, such is the plight of the writing blogger. It’s getting lonely around here.

About Lisa Sell

Lisa Sell is a fiction writer. When she's not wrestling with words she can be found showing the love for chocolate, cheese, coffee, books, the cats, and the husband. Perhaps not in that order.

5 comments on “How to Overcome Writers’ Obstacles

  1. Love this article. I’ve found chocolate, lots of chocolate, helps on those down days (most days, really). And you’re spot on about writer’s block – it happens, it sucks, but try not to worry too much about it. Sometimes you need a break anyway, and quite often you’ll get that light bulb moment when you least expect it!

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