3 Writing Roadblocks and Detours that Work!

Who doesn’t hate roadblocks? Every day you travel the same road. Then suddenly, you’re asked to take an unfamiliar road and then another. It slows you down. In writing, we can hit roadblocks too. Often we can’t move forward without discerning what the roadblock is. If you find yourself in uncharted territory or suddenly a bit turned around, you might be asking yourself:

Why am I not writing? Why am I not taking that next step? What’s holding me back?

I’ve pinpointed three things that sometimes slow all of us down. Alongside them are some ways to get unstuck, push beyond them, and hit the next level in your writing journey.

Sometimes writing is (not) wonderfully exciting

When words fall to the page during a deluge of brainstorming brilliance, writing is fun. When you’re finding it hard to rub seven words together and spark a coherent sentence, you wonder if you have any communication skills at all. It’s not always amusing; but if you’re stretching toward a goal, exhilaration is waiting for you just out of reach. What can you do to get to it?

1) Try some writing prompts or exercises.Writing - roadblock 2

2) Learn new words and read current news.

3) Read a writing book or read a few chapters of fiction.

Set a goal to write a amount of words per day or practice writing for uninterrupted 20-minute periods. You’ll be surprised at what you accomplish. Breaking a task into smaller bites helps it seem less overwhelming. Keep persevering daily. You will find yourself further along at the end of the month than you were at the beginning. This has worked for me.

“You fail only if you stop writing.” Ray Bradbury

Written communication is harder

Even communicating on the phone is easier because you can hear a person’s voice. When it comes to writing, you have even less to work with. Many people will tell you to write just Writing - roadblock 1like you speak. This is not completely true. You have to write with your voice; except you have 3 “handicaps” in writing:

1) Your hands are tied behind your back.

2) You don’t have facial expression.

3) Your reader’s is deaf. They can’t hear your inflection or emotions.

If you write exactly the way you talk, you’ll lose a lot. Certain things aren’t needed in a personal conversation. When writing, your reader can’t see your wide-eyed expression of fear or your flailing arms conveying excitement. You won’t be there to explain or elaborate. Your words must do all the work. You have to write like you speak–only enhanced.

Getting your vision written in such a way that others see what you see is a skill worth honing and one that will also serve you well in other endeavors.

I’m finished….now what?

Writing - roadblock run 2It is fun working on something; to tell your friends you’re writing. There is excitement in the journey, but if you finish, you might have to actually show it to the client, share it on your blog, or send it off to the editor or publisher. It’s ok. We all have this fear, but keep it in perspective. Fear is what we see when we take our eyes off the finish line. You can overcome your fears if the goals you set are bigger and more defined. Here are some positives on finishing.

1) If you complete your piece, then it has a purpose and you can start on something else

(Yes, start the whole dang process over again.)

2) You can truly call yourself a writer. (I once heard it said, “There is a name for writers who don’t finish anything – readers.”)

3) You will encourage others with your accomplishment. writing - roadblocks race


It is worth the focused drive it takes to get past your writing roadblocks. There is value in the extra effort it takes to communicate with the written word and it’s worth the rewards to finish what you start.

What are you trying to finish?

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9 comments on “3 Writing Roadblocks and Detours that Work!
  1. I recently had a writing block too! Mine tend to be sneaky in where I “think” I have to do this and that before I get down to writing. It’s made me miss a deadline and has brought focus on reevaluating what my writer’s block actually is.When I write, it flows, but my “writer’s block” actually comes when I focus on other things.

    • Stepanie, you make a good point. This piece is, in some ways about that focussing back in. You may also want to take a look at the permanant tab at the top of my page “Story Sparklers” as an additional help. Thanks for taking time to comment.

  2. Erica says:

    Nice post! I especially like the third, I’m finished, Now what? More often than we realize, writers tend to not finish something so that we can avoid starting something else.

    When I get stuck, it’s usually because I’m looking for the perfect combination of words right out of the box. But it doesn’t work that way. And when that happens, it helps if I remind myself: “Say it straight, then say it great.” Just get the words out in ugly format, then edit.

    Again, nice post!

    • Thanks Erica for always letting me know not only that you read the post but what parts you liked and what stood out to you.

      I am playing with a new tool I found click to tweet (clicktotweet.com) and added a link to the page. By using the tool you can allow people to click and post the phrase from your page to their twitter (if you add the post link along with the phrase that will be posted as well).

      At first WP added a space that made the link not work but when I took the space out, it worked. (dance)

  3. Thank you. This couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been afraid to contact any potential client, feeling I had nothing worth saying (um… Excuse me, Kendra… you have two blogs, remember?). This simply reiterates that I’m not alone in those fears – and you’ve given me good ideas how to overcome them. I’ve run across ideas like them, but I didn’t need them then. Thank you!

    • Kendra, it is encouraging knowing this came at the right time for you. There is an actual roadblock right outside the complex where I live. They are putting in a round-about and it is only open to people who live here which gave me ideas for this post.

      • Just a quick comment on round-abouts (we have several in my city): Don’t stop in them! Many well-meaning people stop to let someone in when its purpose is to make traffic flow more smoothly in congested areas. So, don’t stop once you’re in it.

  4. Thank you, your posts always offer encouragement and/or new ideas. How true it is that writing is fun, as long as the words flow, but we have a deadline, a finish line… You give us options.
    I have a writing group that motivates writing, as we are accountable to each other. I am working on a historical fiction story set in the 1910+ era about a Railroad Special Agent, Adam Rawlings. His offlce overlooks Angel Island, the new immigration port in San Francisco. He looks at the SF Call, “All railroads meet in San Francisco.” He thinks, bringing more bad elements, as he continues writing his monthly reports…
    I will be checking in again.

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"A writer looks at a screen or piece of paper like a canvas. They see a country unexplored, a picture unpainted, a tale not told. They dare to venture into the barren land, explore its dark corners, and paint its pictures. Then they unveil the epic with the goal of compelling people to visit their newly discovered territory.”
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