Overcoming Writer’s Block

Sarah McMahon
3 min readApr 20

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

Sometimes I really, really hate this blog.

Not because I don’t like writing, but because all I write about is what I know, and I don’t know much. Some days, I can honestly say I know nothing. I know that using a bit of white vinegar in a load of sweaty laundry can help your clothes smell better. And I know that one should not drive a car in a bike lane, or merge without using a turn signal. I know that sunscreen is important and that the ice caps are melting and that every day, millions of people drag themselves out of bed without the slightest clue as to what they’re doing or why.

Sometimes I hate this blog because I get tired of all my dismal, boring thoughts that play like a metronome in my brain. I heard once that 90 percent of our thoughts every day are not unique, and although that may not be true, it is *highly* depressing.

One of my writing professors told us that the best writing comes from an honest place; that the best way to write well is to write intimately. He also told us that writer’s block isn’t real, it’s simply fear dressed up as an excuse. Because, he said, one can always write, but one cannot always write well. The fear of writing something bad can keep us from writing anything at all, which is why so many of us have half-finished articles and pages of poems and a book we’ve started and stopped writing a million times.

The author Auberon Waugh said, “In my experience, novelists and others who complain of a mysterious disease called Writer’s Block should be treated with suspicion. This inexplicable failure to write anything can be the result of two conditions — simple laziness or having nothing to say…One needs only to develop a certain power of concentration and have something to say.”

Jordan Peterson said the best writing comes from addressing a question that you need to answer. Writing teaches us how to think, how to put coherent thoughts together, how to consider ideas from all sides and inspect them so carefully that when we lay them down on the page, they make some kind of sense. Good writing makes writing look easy, but nothing done well is done easily.

When I dig to the bottom of why I’ve ever avoided doing anything, ever in my life, the answer is…

Sarah McMahon

Blogger | Poet | Freelancer | Ultra Runner IG: @mcmountain email: sarahrose.writer@gmail.com