Friday, May 1, 2020

The Myth of Writer’s Block

by Crystal Bowman

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. There—I said it because I believe it. I’m not sure who coined the term “writer’s block” but I’m guessing the person was not a true writer. Writers write no matter what. It’s our passion, our job, our mission, our talent. Call it what you want, but we write because we can’t not write. It’s what we do. Writing for us is like breathing—it keeps us alive.

My husband is a dentist. Can you imagine if in the middle of a root canal he said, “I have dental block today. Send the patient home!”  I doubt his dental practice would last long. Or imagine you need to go somewhere, and you encounter a roadblock. Do you turn around and go back home? No. You find another way to reach your destination. 

Sometimes I write because I have an idea, and sometimes I write because I have a deadline. Either way, I can be just as creative and productive. There are times when the words flow quickly from my brain to the keyboard to the screen. Other times, not so much. 

If you find yourself facing writing challenges, here are some ideas that may help when you feel stuck:
  • Take a short break to give your brain a rest. Toss in a load of laundry, clean a bathroom, or go out to get the mail. These actions require little brain activity and allow you to refocus.
  • Have a nutritious snack to refuel your brain. The ability to concentrate and problem solve requires a steady supply of energy in the form of glucose. Wholesome, slow-to-digest carbs are the best choice. Here are some suggestions: 

    • trail mix
    • yogurt parfait
    • whole-grain cereal with milk
    • apples with nut butter
    • tea and avocado toast
    • ice cream (not really on the list, but I love ice cream)

  • Exercise. Go for a walk outdoors. If you can’t go out, then play your favorite music and
  • move your body from head to toe. You can also find a wide variety of in-home exercise programs on YouTube. 
  • If you prefer to keep writing, then skip over the section that’s challenging and come back to that part later. Sometimes moving forward triggers an idea that will help you fill in the previous blanks.
  • Don’t rush. One time I wrote a picture book in three days because an editor slipped up and needed me to save her job.  (Okay, she probably would not have been fired, but I did what she asked me to do). There are other times, however, when I have spent three days thinking about one sentence, one line, or even one word. Many of my children’s books are in rhythm and rhyme and I can spend days thinking about the rhyme because I want to get it right. That doesn’t mean I sit at my computer for three days trying to write one word—it just means that it’s on my mind. 
  • Expect the enemy to mess with you. When I am writing Bible stories or devotional books, I seem to have trouble at the very end. The last chapter, or paragraph, or verse just doesn’t come together. I believe it’s the enemy keeping me from completing my work. So I pray. I ask God to fill me with the Holy Spirit and then I tell Satan to take a hike. It’s hard to describe the peace I feel when I do this, but it always results in finishing my work. 

During these days of global lockdown, you may find yourself with more time to write. Even if you don’t have an idea, turn on your computer and start writing. You may be surprised at what shows up on the screen. And remember—there’s no such thing as writer’s block!  


Crystal Bowman is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 100 books for children and four nonfiction books for women. She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. She loves going to schools to teach kids about poetry. She also speaks at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups and teaches workshops at writers’ conferences. When she is not writing or speaking, she enjoys going for walks, working out at the gym, and eating ice cream. She and her husband live in Michigan and have seven huggable grandkids.


  1. Loved your message -- such good advice. I know it will help me. Thanks for sharing and best wishes to you in your writing.

  2. I have found tons of ideas during this quarantine. Just looking out of the back window makes my thoughts whirl. haha! Nature is a great inspiration.

  3. It's easier to come up with ideas, now that we're all concerned with isolation, the virus, etc. Just when I thought people had used every approach, my sister reminded me of a few more. Hooray!

  4. I heard prolific novelist Gilbert Morris say the same thing at a Christian writer's conference years ago (except he used the example of a plumber using the excuse of "plumber's block," although if you've ever had a clogged drain that might not be the best example!). Professionals, no matter what the occupation/calling, get up and get to work no matter what. The quality of the work might not be the best or might need a LOT of editing later, but a professional writer does just that--WRITES--no matter what. Thanks for this apt reminder that the best cure for the alleged malady is to apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair and get busy!

  5. Great practical post. Thanks Crystal.

  6. Love calling it "writing challenges" instead of writers block! Thanks for the tips!!

  7. Hi Crystal, Thank you for your input! The best part of your blog was to pray and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance. I've written 3 Bible study books, 2 of which have been translated into Spanish and Farsi, and 1 into Japanese. My husband and I have a ministry in California called Be Transformed Ministries, and we've sent out over 12,000 of my books for free into prisons, jails, and rehabs across the US, into 3 countries in Africa, ebooks into Iran, and over 1,000 into Mexico. The reason I'm sharing all of this is to get our ministry more widely known (ha!), but especially to say that I'm now trying to write my (my testimony is on YouTube at Writing my story is a whole other animal! If you have any tips for me, I'd welcome them. I try to look for wisdom from people who know the Lord. Thank you so much! You can contact me at if you have the time and are interested.
    God bless you! Sharon Dutra, Be Transformed Ministries

    1. please feel free to email me:

  8. Hi Crystal, I meant to say I'm writing my autobiography...that part got cut out of my message :)
    Thanks, Sharon