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How To Overcome Writer's Block

Updated: Dec 5, 2023




When you clear your mind from clutter and prepare your mind and body to focus, your writing and creative process will engage.


Table of Contents

Lesson One-Great Writing Comes from Great Reading

Lesson Two-Understand Your Purpose

Lesson Seven-Writer's Block Summary

Lesson Three-Address Your State of Mind

Lesson Five-Getting Rid of Brain Clutter

Lesson Four-Unlocking Writer's Block

Lesson Six-Know thy Subject Matter

Lesson Seven- Summary





Subject: How does one defeat writer's block?


What is the secret to great writing?


Whenever I get the same question over and over I ponder the thought of posting up an

answer, if only for the challenge. This of course assumes I have an answer. I am going to

share a quick story on why I stopped writing my “Blockbuster Novel” as I was

acknowledging I had run into a wall. Once I figured out why, the writing started flowing

again. Over my writing career I have published four books, written five, and started a sixth

book. I stopped writing my first spy novel because something did not feel right. After all,

this was a new “first” like many other “first time” challenges I had to face.


The novel has all of the spy thriller plots one would expect to see. The plot line involves

four students and an entrepreneur who together teach machines a new way to trade

stocks using artificial intelligence. All of the usual affairs, suspense, and high-tech

wonders weave throughout the book. As the novel unfolds this unique band of next

generation wonder kids suddenly realize other powerful people want what they have

created. They are chased around the world as their accounts load into the billions. Be

careful what you ask for. Apparently vast sums of money come with unique problems.


I started the spy thriller in 2021 while Covid forced us all to stay home and clean out the

garage. Mine is still dirty because I decided to get an MBA and write books instead. This

brings us to the concept of “writers block”, what is it and most all, how does one get rid of

it? This problem is more difficult if you fancy yourself as a Type A personality. While

juggling professors in grad school, I would take weekends and open time to write my

books.


As a Type A who feels like only a PHʼD level of comprehension will do when I take on a

task, I decided about half through the spy novel, I needed to bone up on Artificial

Intelligence and the Metaverse, two things that will change our lives (by a lot) by 2030. So,

what do I do? I decided to write whitepapers on A.I, and Quantum computing thinking this

will solve my knowledge gap in order to be smart enough to write my high-tech spy novel.



LESSON ONE: Great Writing Comes from reading the Greats


The number one way to become a great writer is to become a great reader. I have read over a

dozen novels that were on the New York Times Best Seller list so I could become a great

novelist. If you want to learn Spanish, go spend three months in Mexico. If you want to become

a great writer, read the best work available (by experts) that is related to what you wish to

write about. If you like business, subscribe to Forbes Magazine and so on. After I read some of

the best novels on the market, I had to change my writing style and focus on how to write a

great novel. It is very different than writing a whitepaper on UFO’s and whether alien life exist

on earth, a whitepaper (now book) I just wrote.


You must align your head to your target audience. I got into “alien mode” for six months. I

watched over 50 UFO top documentaries and read six of the top selling alien life books. I

watched the 2023 summer Congressional Hearings on UFO evidence the US is likely hiding. I

went through every President since Franklin D. Roosevelt in order to figure out what they knew

or did not know about alien life on earth. After all, alien life is over 10,000 times smarter than

humans. That is how they got here in the first place. They understand who the most powerful

people on earth are and where they live. The point is I became a UFO expert by reading and

learning.


It is also very important to read about topics that are out of your comfort zone. It is a way to

train the parts of your brain that are firing low on knowledge. It trains the way your brain

learns. Yes, go ahead and read that summer novel set on Martha’s Vineyard if that rocks your

boat. Then go as opposite as you can go. Go get a copy of Popular Mechanics and bone up on

engineering.


You do not have to like it but your brain will love it. Don’t do it for you if you find it boring. Do it

for your brain. A great writer must pull creative thoughts from all parts of the brain. Why

bother trying to become a great writer if some parts of your brain have been dormant for

decades. Learning a foreign language is one of the best things you can do for your brain. Play

chess, if you lose to your kid, this is proof they are using more of their whole brain than you are.

Great writing uses many parts of your brain and gives you a larger vocabulary from reading

things you do not understand. Moreover, it elevates your writing brain. That is the benefit from

reading and learning up on a complex subject matter. It tunes the brain. The key is to

understand the why, what for, and to create a plan to attack for your next writing task. You

need a roadmap.


What is the purpose of your writing? Who is the audience? How is your message worthwhile?

It makes no difference if the task is a grad school thesis, an email, or a novel. They all start with

what is in your head. The theory is the same. Let’s start with Sigmund Freud to get into the

brain. We can then look at how to fix the writing problem. Easy peasy if you first get your head

right. This applies to all writing skill levels but clearly having some grammar and basic writing

skills is assumed. There are plenty of places to go to learn basic writing skills. Most junior

colleges have very affordable writing classes if you need to begin with the basics. We all know

the internet is a great place to learn anything.


LESSON TWO: Understand Your Purpose and what is in your Subconscious


Now, back to Sigmond Freud. Even Freud had mentors and he used them to gain

knowledge about how our mind works He contributed to the state of the mind process by

defining the mind as storing information in either a Conscious State, a Subconscious State, and

way back in the dark area of your brain is where the Unconscious Mind lives. These are the

three main data banks your brain uses to think. Every writer uses their past to manage the

future. This applies to writing. For today we will skip over the Unconscious Mind, this is where

“block outs” live and where the mind stores tragedy like a violent attack, killing, or an awful

event that changed your life. It is where you store things you would rather forget.


Over time you do forget, but your mind still has a deeply stored memory of the event.

Sometimes, very skilled psychologists can get into this part of your brain, but it may take years

to open the Unconscious mind. It comes with many layers of security to lock out your conscious

and subconscious mind. Freud discovered this when after years of therapy, he was able to

address a patient who was severely depressed, and she finally learned through years of therapy

why she hated her father. It had ruined her life. Freud cured her and reasoned her block was

deep inside her unconscious mind. We are not talking about writers block in the Unconscious

mind, just pointing out your brain stores things like your past in different places. Writer’s block

lives in the conscious and subconscious mind.


LESSON THREE-We want to address your current state of mind (the conscious

mind) and what may be bothering you in your subconscious mind


Great writing takes great focus along with a good dose of passion for what you are doing. If

your mind is pulling things out of your subconscious mind as you write, it will impact your

writing and route energy and neurons into multitasking, taking away from your writing skills.

The brain is capable of writing a book while your subconscious mind plays back things you

wished you had said to your boss or spouse a week ago. One part of your brain is going left, and

the other part is going right. In the process you are robbing your brain of dedicating itself to the

task at hand, writing a great email, article, or book.


Examples of things that live in your subconscious mind might include an argument you had with

someone close to you, or your child telling you what changes you need to make to be a good

parent. It just simmers and simmers in this part of your brain. Some of us try and have a few

drinks or take a sleeping pill to temporarily exit the subconscious brain. It works for a while but

then you are driving your kid to soccer practice wondering how such a great kid could say

something that hurt so much. You start to wonder, am I a good parent or employee?


I want to stress great writing is not just about where your head is at. There are many other

things that impact great writing, like knowledge, understanding your subject matter, taking the

time to do good research, and doing your homework by actually observing people and

knowledge that correlate to your subject matter. An understanding of how to use the language

you are writing in also contributes to great writing. That said, you won’t be as effective doing

research if your heart and soul are not into it. Research is like being a detective, you may have

to go down roads that time after time turn up empty. Eventually you will find what you are

seeking and now you possess the confidence and skill to turn an idea into words that matter.


Great writing comes from painting a picture that people want to read in words. You are

painting a picture with them. In the business world, you are a skilled lawyer making a closing

argument on why your marketing plan is the key to your company meeting the challenges

ahead. You want your readers (or listeners) to be fully engaged. You want them wanting to

understand your point of view that has been well researched.


LESSON FOUR-Unlocking Writer’s Block


Ever wonder why going for a run is good for the brain? It is because energy creates energy.

When you get your blood flowing you get your brain flowing. It does not have to be a run, make

it a good walk. The point is unlocking writers block means putting your body and your brain in

top working order. Make sure your diet is full of fuel that fuels your brain. Get on a fixed

routine for exercise and you will see those great ideas will start to flow right after your exercise

or even while you are walking. Sometimes, great idea’s will emerge when you are sleeping. I

have actually invented products while sleeping that I went on to file and get great patents on.

Yes, as a Type A I would wake up and jot down breakthrough idea’s that were in my

subconscious mind. I needed to transfer them to my conscious mind.


Open your pathways to open thinking. Humans have the ability to use advanced thinking if they

remove the clutter in their subconscious mind, free their fear from other people or what other

people think.


My favorite line came from the number one golfer in the world as of March, 2023, Scottie

Scheffler. When asked about what he thinks of other people commenting why he blew a putt or

what he should have done, he replied to the reporter asking the question,


“What other people think of me is none of my business”.


How great was that response? Let’s all take the lesson from Scottie. After all, you do not

become the number one ranked golfer in the world without great focus. So, how do we get

great focus. You just got the answer. Dump your data banks in your conscious and sub

conscious mind that contain negativity, closed thinking, fear, and most of all, “Can I do this”. Of

course, you can. You can do anything you set your mind to do, as long as you get your mind in

the right frame of mind and put in the work to become qualified for the task at hand.


Get your head right. Stop worrying about things you cannot change and focus on the things you

can change. Write down what is bothering you and plan to solve the problem, once and for all.

Just you in a room or a park sitting with an empty notepad. Everyone has something or some

relationship or some problem that they can improve. Release the fear. This opens the neural

networks to start helping each other out. Your brain starts to communicate with other parts of

your brain. This allows you to tap into a deeper you.


Try and let go of biased opinions that make no sense and that are hurtful. Chances are they may

have hurt someone else in their conscious mind (their present mind) and may be now hurting

you in your subconscious mind. Build on strength, love of what you are doing, love of life and

other highly successful people. The compassion for great writing will follow, along with greater

writing. This will unlock your brain because your “purpose” is now elevated. Better brain, better

writing.


Lesson Five-Getting Rid of Brain Clutter.


Write down a plan or the things you need to do to just solve some of the problems in your life.

Start with just one small thing you know you need to do. Some problems take many steps to

solve. They all start with taking the first step. Once you begin to attack your subconscious mind

by cleaning out the things that are eating away at you, your writing will regain passion and you

will ignite what is really inside of you. When the brain is firing on all cylinders you will empower

the brain to deliver the best version of yourself in everything you do-especially in the power of

writing. Good luck and yes, you can write a novel if you really want to. If I can do it, you can do

it.


Lesson Six-Know thy Subject Matter


There is no such thing as having too much knowledge. I have written books on a broad array of

complex subject matters where topics like Black Hole theory, How does one create a great

product, How to hire a Board of Directors, annual reports on US Economic Forecast, books on

How to “Master Your Diva, Your Time Share, and Your Company” and numerous other topics.

What is the one secret I have learned?


Just suppose after you have written your article, book, etc., that there is very credible evidence

that refutes your point of view and if it surfaced and if it was compared to your work, would

make you look and feel like a total idiot. How would you feel? Somethings are open to

interpretation; we all get that. Sometimes two opposing views can co-exist. It is also OK to be

different, to go against the grain. In fact, it usually sets the stage for great writing. I frequently

have viewpoints that may or may not be popular. I don’t care because after making a real effort

to look at all sides, I feel empowered to let it rip. This is a thin line because you should not write

and fear what others will think. There is no such thing as an article or book that “everyone

loves”, with the possible exception of children’s books that contain cool cartoon characters.


So, do your homework, cite your references when doing research, and just ask yourself could

you write that same email, article, or book and take the “other side” and produce great work. If

the answer is yes and you have attempted to do a complete 360 on the issue in your head, you

have earned the right to create something worthwhile. It does not matter that you take a side

in the end, what matters is you have become a balanced writer. Better balance, better book.


Lesson Seven: Writers Block Summary- Practice makes perfect. Remember, great

writing starts with doing the small things. Make your emails count and you will be a better

writer. In this “swipe” world we live in, it is easy to just craft an email that is less than perfect. It

is important if you write to make anything you write count. It takes a bit more effort to check

your grammar and spelling but it forces you to get toward a 100%. I am pretty sure I have never

hit 100% in forty years as a writer. I still shoot for it every time I write.


Make sure you are addressing the issue or issues at hand. If you are going to take on a

whitepaper, long article, or book, make sure that you have a plan. Make an outline worthy of

something you would want to read. Most every time you are too long on some points and have

forgotten one or more other critical points. If you tune down points that are overdone and

include some points you failed to mention you are heading for a great piece of writing.


What is the message and final thoughts you want your readers to take with them?. Read your

work two days after your “final version”. Then read it over and ask yourself, “What am I missing

here”. I have found there is a 95% chance I am missing an important clarification or subpoint.

Perhaps I over baked one subject while another never got in the oven. In other words, “check

your flow”.


Does your storyline or even your email have a logical flow? Great writers know their work is

never done. It can always be better. The trick is to know at what point to you let your work

publish as a final. As an example, I have read this article over a dozen times. I make changes

every time I read it to help my readers “get it”.


Clearly, the path to writing a great “novel” is a bit different since you are likely dealing with

fiction. That said, even writing a great novel comes from great raw experiences. I have a piece

of me in every book that I write and yet each book I wrote is very different. If you really want to

write, start with writing a great letter or email. Is it kind yet convincing? Does it make a point?.

Is the point you are making validated?


If you can write a great article you are on your way to writing a great book. Make it count or

don’t write anything at all. After all, it is better to be thought a fool than to write something

uninteresting and poorly crafted and remove all doubt. While it does not matter what others

may ultimately think of your work, it does matter that inside, that you and your true friends

know that you crushed it. In reality most of my best friends do not even read my articles,

whitepapers, or books. They are too busy and into other things. People take the time to read

because they want to learn or connect with something or someone.


Don’t expect the vast majority of your friends to read your work. You are not writing for them,

you should be writing first for yourself, and then for the thousands and thousands of people

who are out there, and would love to read your work because the subject matter is something

they want to read. Reading is just like writing, people must be motivated to both read and

write.


Sometimes when I feel a bout of writers block coming on, I go to work in the yard or go to the

gym. I then re-read this article, take several minutes to re think why I am stuck in the work I am

doing, and once I get my thinking aligned, the work just flows.


Now, go forward with your keyboard and prosper! Let us know if this article helped you. We

read every email we get. May the force be with you.

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