The 2 Biggest Lies that Hold Writers Back…(Including Me)

CONFESSION. I don’t believe in “writer’s block.” I think this label is nothing more than a convenient excuse for us to delay our writing dreams.

Before you lock me up in the loony bin, let me peel off the mask by pull back the curtain. I wrote 6 traditionally published books, coached over 60 authors on their book projects, and ghostwrote 3 books for high-profile clients.

But I’ve also:

Justified watching movies to “research” for my next book.

Avoided a deadline because unloading the dishwasher seemed more thrilling.

Hit the disc golf course to find inspiration for my next chapter

Wasted more than a few days satisfying a “Platform Building Fix” on Facebook and Twitter.

Bottom line. All these activities seemed noble at the time. And yet, they merely created space between my current state and my calling.

Maybe you can relate?

Although writer’s block might stroke our ego or infuse us with a temporary dose of importance, it leaves a toxic residue. Writer’s block is nothing more than Resistance’s attempt to blind you from the truth—namely that you’re a slave.


A slave?

You bet!

And I’m one too.

We ALL suffer from two self-limiting beliefs. Sure they show up in different clothes, but regardless how we dress them up, when stripped bare, they manifest themselves in one of two ways.

When we can’t write it’s because we tell ourselves:

  1. I AM not enough.
  2. I don’t HAVE enough.

The first one (I AM not enough) strikes at our identity. The second one (I don’t HAVE enough) strikes at our resources. Both focus on what we lack, not what we have to offer.

Here’s how they’ve popped up and bit my best intentions to write:

I am not good enough.
I am not credible enough.
I am not knowledgeable enough.

I don’t have enough talent.
I don’t have enough connections.
I don’t have enough hair for my back cover photo.

OK, maybe you can’t relate to the lack of hair. But if you’re honest, I bet these two lies have wiggled their way into your writing—of lack thereof.

I believe writing is 90% psychological. Whenever I write (including this piece you’re reading now) my subconscious shows up and says, “What do you think you’re doing?” Then its twin pops in and contributes to the conversation, “And who do you think you are?”

How do I hack my inner Hannibal? The villain who longs to cannibalize my creativity?

For starters, I’m no longer surprised when these characters crash the party. Rather, I pull up a chair for them before the festivities even begin. And when Resistance rears it’s ugly head, in those moments I know I’m exactly where I need to be. If Resistance doesn’t show up, then I start to worry. That omen usually means my writing is too safe and too small.

I have another secret weapon. I’ve found that writing in community tends to severely wound these two self-limiting beliefs. We call ourselves Author Academy Elite and we watch each other’s back. We also post our wins or losses once a week in a format called Mission Mondays.

A little militant with our metaphor? Perhaps. But I’ve discovered if you approach writer’s block casually, you’ll soon become a casualty. And nobody reads a book if the author can’t write it because she’s dead.

Be a friend to yourself. Eliminate writer’s block from your vocabulary altogether. Better yet, prepare your weapons.

Remember, writing is war. And your army needs to read your words.

[guestpost]Kary_OKary Oberbrunner ignites souls. He’s also an author, coach, and speaker. Enjoy his FREE author webinar and consider attending Escaping Shawshank with Dan and Joanne Miller and Kary to Unleash your Dream. Early Bird deadline expires June 19th. Save up to $400. Use the code “freedom.”[/guestpost]


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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Tim Bishop - June 13, 2015

I was going to leave a comment, but I can’t think of anything to write! –oh no– I mean, writer’s block, it seems to me, is all about making excuses, just one tempting rationalization we all might think to consider from time to time. I’ve also suffered from “cleaning the house block” and “tax return” block in the past.

    Kary Oberbrunner - June 13, 2015

    I love your fantastic sense of humor friend. Thanks for breaking through…and writing a comment. 🙂

Susie Miller - June 13, 2015

great article! Resistance and the “not enoughs” plague all writers. Thanks for the perspective and tactics!

Susan - June 13, 2015

Kary, LOVE this post. So relates to all us writers. I will remember it next time I start to “do research”!!

Shanda - July 26, 2015

I like the last line. Or is it two lines? It’s two sentences anyway – and two sentences I needed to read today. My Resistance keeps saying, “what’s the purpose?” and “why bother?” Your comment that writing is war reminds me that I need armor and weapons for the fight. I think I have a rock hammer around here somewhere…. 🙂

    Erin K Casey - September 8, 2015

    Fantastic, Shanda. Wield them wildly and write because your story matters.

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