An Analysis of Writer’s Block: Causes and Solutions

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Previous research findings suggest that multiple factors contribute to writer’s block and that blocking may occur at any part of the writing process. The aim of this study was to investigate different causes of blocking and discover the most effective solutions for writers. 146 writers completed an online, mixed-method survey about their experiences with writer’s block. Four causes of writer’s block were described by the respondents and supported by existing literature: physiological, motivational, cognitive, and behavioral. The most common causes of blocking were physiological and motivational, and interfered with the composition process of writing more often than idea generation. Writers described twelve effective solutions. The four most useful strategies were taking a break from writing, working on a different writing project, forcing themselves to keep writing, and discussing ideas with others. The findings also revealed an association between different causes of blocking and the cognitive processes involved with different parts of the writing process. Professional and semiprofessional writers did not significantly differ in the types of blocks they experienced, solutions they considered effective, and the length of writer’s block they experienced. The findings presented may provide readers with helpful strategies for overcoming writer’s block.

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Creativity Research Journal

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