What To Do With Writer’s Block

For the last two days I have been struck with a horrendous case of writer’s block. Right now I should be preparing my talk for a conference I’m speaking at next month. But the words, they just ain’t comin’.

Actually, it’s not reaallly writers block. If I’m brutally honest, it’s a confidence crisis, combined with a liberal dose of perfectionism.

You know what’s ironic? Just a few days ago I wrote a blog post on fear. Now I’m gripped with stomach wrenching panic at the thought of doing a bad job, not being good enough, sounding stupid  – or worse, boring.

Cue, the VOICE OF DOOOOOOM (adopt Rasputin from Anastasia voice when saying this).

But as my Dad (a keen sailor) always says, “you cannot direct the wind, but you can always trim the sails”.  In this case, my ‘trimming the sails’ is to do something about this writers block and confidence crisis, rather than remaining the frozen rabbit in the headlights.

What now?

1.Start writing anyway. Even if it’s a shitty first draft. As Louis L’Amour said, “Start writing no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

2. Open up a little file I have in my email inbox entitled “Inspiration and Stuff to Read When Having a REALLY Bad Day”. Thoroughly recommend this one. When I get an email from someone thanking me for the coaching we’ve done together, or a comment on The Leader’s Digest saying how much it resonated, I file that little puppy in said email file. Add to that uplifting quotes or stories, notes from my children saying they love me, or a kind word from a friend. You get the picture.

Sometimes it helps.
Sometimes the inner critic is too loud.

3. When all else fails, I go into my garden and lie flat on the ground. I look up at the clouds. And I think about love.

What works for you to quieten the Voice of Doom, or unlock writers block?  I’d love to hear…


  1. Wally Bock on January 17, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    I prefer options 1 and 3. They’re my “Two Ways to Deal with Writer’s Block.” http://writingabookwithwally.com/better-writing/two-ways-to-deal-with-writers-block

    • Suzi McAlpine on January 18, 2015 at 4:28 am

      Thanks Wally, I liked the way you described it as letting your subconscious take over.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts from The Leader's Digest

Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

Welcome to

The Leader's Digest

Subscribe to The Leader’s Digest

Receive trending leadership topics and tips, straight to your inbox.

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Internationally Recognised


The Leader's Digest App