TW: writing anxiety

For all the writing coaching that I do, there is one consistent thing that I have seen across all of my clients: fear of getting stuck in the middle of a draft. This getting stuck is indicative of a greater problem! Yet, these problems are why I am a writing coach.

Getting stuck, that feeling of not being able to write, is one of most common reason I see writers quit. This is different than writers’ block! This is being unsure of what to do next–being stuck!–is different than not being able to write! Being stuck is anxiety-inducing, and it will make you give up.

YET–there is a way to combat it. You have to write through it. The only way to get unstuck, is to get unstuck! Don’t quit in the middle because it is hard! There are three ways to get unstuck:

1.) Take a break. Walk away from the draft for 30-90 days. Sometimes you have to give space between you and the work. That may be all you need–sometimes you need to see forest AND trees.

2.) Get a new set of eyes. It is always good to someone to look over your work and offer feedback. It might even help brainstorm!

3.) A spaced-out read through. Give yourself about a week from what your current project. After that week (or no more than a month), read through what you have. And write. Even if it is one or two pages.

Sometimes you need a push to get unstuck.


“It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be written.” -JBHarris

What I think is so disheartening about the writing process is that it can feel so daunting! What you have in your head and what may come out of it doesn’t always look the most polished, sane or pretty.

But that is the point of a rough draft–it’s rough! It’s not meant to be clean. It is meant to be written. Think of it as going through a forest with a machete. Your job is to cut a path. And keep cutting the path towards the other side of the forest–by any means necessary.

Remember that the most crucial thing is to get what you have what is in your head out of it.

No more. No less.

The most important thing about a draft is that once it is written–it can be changed! It can be lengthened, shortened and made a series with the right motivations. In essence, this is the poignant thing to remember when beginning a draft–fiction or non-fiction!

I know it’s messy. I know it is scary. I know it feels impossible, soul-crushing and challenges your imagination–but write anyway. The next step is the revision. This is where Neil Gaiman says where you look like you knew what you were doing the whole time.