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This is so true when it comes to writing fiction.
No matter what, showing up on the page is important. I did this scribble of colors on a blocked day, and it works as my reminder. Letting it go and expressing yourself is all you need on some days.

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Do you ever get blocked? Or do you write through your blocks?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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67 Comments

  • ninader26 says:

    I’ve actually been experiencing a bit of a block lately, especially when it comes to writing something of fiction. When it comes to writing my own blog, I’m fine because I’m talking about my truth and what I’m going through but, when it comes to being more creative I’m having a bit of a problem.

    I’ve been trying to write a story, something sort of like what I’m going through but with some creative liberties obviously but, I’m just having the hardest time writing it. I don’t know if it’s hitting too close to home for me or, just not in the best of creative moods. I find myself wanting to write it and finish it or add onto it but, when I try like I did tonight, I get maybe a few sentences and then I just quit.

    Any tips on how I can try to break through this writer’s block or a variation of writer’s block I’m experiencing?

  • Sometimes you just have to doodle, even meaningless scribbles, and the necessary words and images will come to you. Have a wonderful day.

  • I definitely agree on this. No matter how small you accomplish in a day. Showing up everyday is training your mind and your skill to develop and improve. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • alexraphael says:

    A very nice quote from a very prolific writer

  • it’s no fun when you have ideas and you feel that block – this self-conscious wall prevents you from expression. Sometimes you can be too hard on yourself when the bad advice in your head shouts “you call yourself a writer!” The famous painter Veermer was a very slow painter, and came out with one of two paintings a year. I’m a slow bloomer, but the best ideas have had time setting on your back burner. Let me share my favorite quote with you, it helps me:
    writing is easy.
    Not writing is hard.

    visit really older posts from like, january and febuary for examples of my fiction too

  • Harsha MP says:

    writing helps me remove blocks

  • Thanks for reminding me. (Could you do this every week ๐Ÿ˜‰ ?

  • Sorry, I posted my last comment in the wrong place. I meant ‘nice drawing.’
    ‘Nice picture’ might read wrong, in like a creepy kind of way…

    delete delete delete

  • Chandni Lahoti says:

    Hi Damyanti! Yes even I go through that block at times and my act of letting go is cleaning. I don’t even realise and whenever I am under that block, I start organising my desk, my papers and it really works for me. Beautiful colours in that scribble by the way.

  • This is lovely, Damyanti. Am sharing this with anyone who talks about writer’s block! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • M.L. Swift says:

    I love that you used another creative outlet to rev up the writing motor! And not a bad piece of art, might I add. I’ve removed certain phrases from my writing when unnecessary, like “trying to write,” or “started to do…” It’s like a catch in your throat. You TRY or you DO. Thanks for the lovely reminder.

  • I wrote a post about this too! I like to think I am a just do it person, but the blocks usually just make me feel guilty and avoid writing. But as soon as I start it seems to flow beautifully, so it’s kind of a matter of just sitting down and, well, doing it! I love the idea of painting though, maybe I should try that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Jen says:

    Totally worked for me today. Just did a free write session this morning and now think I have a new story idea.

  • Pat Bean says:

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  • I love the free-writing exercise. Where you write in response to a prompt… without thinking too deeply, without stopping to check…

  • marcroyston says:

    All of the arts have at least one thing in common: Creative Expression. I am an Artist. The printed word is one of my mediums. Performance is another. Drawing is another. Yes, if you find yourself “blocked” in one medium, another may provide an alternative outlet. However, that being said, writing does take discipline. The “tyranny of the blank page” is something all writers face. I just work through it, and recommend all writers do so. I usually know WHERE I need to go in my writing, but if often have no idea HOW I am going to get there. I let my fingers talk for me. That is one of the astonishing things I have also found in common between the arts: the sense that you are merely “channeling.” We have all faced blocks. We have all faced the page with frustration. I recommend “Just Write.” Write whatever. Write how you don’t know what to write. Write a description of your surroundings. Write about the ache in your back, the food you’d rather be eating, your dreams, your wishes, your fears. Just write. That step opens up the subconscious and gets the “juices flowing.” For instance … I had no idea what I was going to write here. And look how I have carried on! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • damyanti says:

      Absolutely. I’m a hardcore fan of just write. And I have my writing teacher to thank for that– she enabled me to give myself the permission to write. It’s a long hard road, and the best way to walk it is without fear and without stopping ๐Ÿ™‚

  • If I get stuck, it usually means I haven’t thought through my plot/character/setting. That usually means I don’t know enough. So I research. That never fails to get me going again.

  • Once I start writing, I never experience writer’s block. However, before that…

  • atempleton says:

    Great advice. I will try to follow it,

  • Jemima Pett says:

    The words underneath the “Just do it” are important. Trying is something you do when you don’t think you can, as my wise Lady Nimrod so neatly put it. It’s taken me a long time to do this, partly because I have a little “Be Perfect” voice in me which stops me trying things if I don’t think I can be perfect, so if I have to, it’s half-hearted. Just doing it allows the creative juices to flow. It also works for sport – and Roger Federer, no less, paraphrased in it an interview last summer (2012). I’ve been working on this ever since. My golf has improved, but I’m not sure about my writing – well, yes, I think that has too!

  • Twan van Elk says:

    I write when I feel like it. And when I write and I don’t like what comes out, I’ll toss it aside. I don’t see that as being ‘blocked’ though. And sometimes when I come back to that piece, I find something in there I can use somewhere else.

    • damyanti says:

      I try to write when I feel like it, but often I find writing even when I don’t feel like it provides surprising results. Our brain is a wonderful, magical thing!

  • Birthmuse says:

    I write through! There’s always something there even if its not what I want to write…. But hey, who’s in charge anyway??? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • I walk the dog when the words won’t come. Something about the movement and being away from the house in the fresh air helps the words come, especially blog posts and dialogue. Then I tap away at my phone and sometimes I’ve written 500 words by the time I get home.

  • One of my tutors at film school gave a great suggestion that I’ve used ever since: when you don’t feel like writing, make yourself sit down and write for 20 minutes. Write whatever comes into your head – grocery list, journal, brainstorm. After 20 minutes, you’ll either be ready to get to your draft, or know that it truly isn’t happening for you that day, but you tried.

    Claire

  • Write through. For me writing is a professional business and deadlines do not wait.

  • caroscuro says:

    You would be surprised how many people cannot let go of their fears and just do, particularly when it comes to creativity. But you have to just do it. Let go and fly by the seat of your pants.

    • damyanti says:

      Amen.

      • caroscuro says:

        Although right now, I’m revising my book, just doing it you know, but not exactly sure my doing is accomplishing anything. The other plight of the artist! If you can get past the fear which causes inactivity, you get smacked with the fear of not doing enough!

  • Yes and no. Like everyone else so far, sometimes I plow on and end up on a completely different path, and other times whatever it was just gets dropped.
    On another note, I am in the midst of recently receiving a very high compliment (I know, I know, tough break), but now feel largely inadequate to actually live up to it, maybe even stricken. I’m thinking it’s probably time for a break, a martini break. A lots of martinis break.

    • damyanti says:

      All I can say is I wish I had your problem! Sending you loads of Martinis, just the way you like them.

      • Ah, thank you very much…

        and I forgot to mention how impressed I am with your version of ‘color blocking’.

        Very voque amongst this year’s fashion trends. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • rosevoc2 says:

    Reblogged this on Rosevoc2's Blog and commented:
    Thanks!

  • Iona Nerissa says:

    I am currently stuck.. it’s been three days on the same poem and I am getting nowhere with it.. I try to let things sit and jell.. and then go back to it and try again.. but I also know when something just isn’t setting well and it’s time to shelf it. Tonight I begin anew and hopefully the ideas will flow. If not, I go to prompts or free write a while. Wonderful art work and quote!

    • damyanti says:

      I usually find making lists very good for unblocking poetry. Making lists of random things and then connecting words from one to the other has often led to startling lines :). Hope it comes unstuck soon.

      • Iona Nerissa says:

        thanks! it did come unstuck.. actually just a couple of hours after I posted that message… I guess the muse didn’t want that one shelved.. lol. And thanks for this suggestion. I will give it a try.

  • Heartafire says:

    yep, I am a just do it person! Want it done right, do it yourself. I am also a control freak.

  • I love this! Beautiful colours.

    I tend to keep writing but it could be on something different. I will make sure I’m in my seat working on something though. It is all about bum in seat.

  • AuAu says:

    Sometimes I stop because I need to shape some structures or deal a little with my emotions, others I have to scream myself to follow writing, cause Im just being “lazy” and dont want to face the emotions of what Im writing.
    One time I was writing something difficult and didnt knew what to “do there”, cause it wasnt really me, so I thought of what I would not do, write it and then turn it into my own, it worked perfectly, felt great and I love that story.

  • If I don’t write through the blocks I spend the rest of the day being antsy and grumpy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • WOW! I love both the Ray Bradbury comment and the art-work! This is really awesome! It could be worth a fortune at an Art Gallery for all I know… They have them on The Internet now too. Eh? I hope to see more! :O)

    • damyanti says:

      Haha this is just me scribbling with colors. After I read your comment I think it’s good I put in my copyright, yes? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • For me just “writing though” problems never works. I find that when writers do that it can occasionally lead to good material, but more often than not it leads to more problems because they never took the time to go back and find out what got them stuck. It’s like trying to fix a car that won’t start when you don’t know what the problem is. Writing through blocks has never worked for me because, with my writing style, it is just an inefficient technique.

    • damyanti says:

      We each have our own technique, so whatever works for you is good. The important thing is to get unblocked and start writing.

  • I always enjoy your blog thanks. I never really get a block. Sometimes, when I think nothing is happening, the deep recesses of the mind is ticking things over without my help! Suddenly, the brain comes up with things I never thought it could… I find myself asking, how on earth did I come up with that?

    • damyanti says:

      There’s good science to support what you say– research shows that creativity is mostly a matter of persistence!

  • ioniamartin says:

    I do get stuck from time to time, but I usually deal with it by writing something completley diferent from whatever I am stuck on. Very true! You are right.

    On Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 4:05 PM, Daily (w)rite

  • gypsysoul.. says:

    i was just thinking about the same thing.

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