Jul 28, 2021

Episode 19: The Monster Method for Busting Through Writer’s Block

[The Author Switch Classic]

You’ve been sitting at your desk for hours – possibly days – and just can’t get the words out. Writer’s Block isn’t fun, it isn’t pretty, and it certainly isn’t an excuse so that you can twiddle your thumbs. In this episode of The Author’s Switch, I going to share what writer’s block really is, and a framework that can help you bust through it forever.

Episode 19: The Monster Method for Busting Through Writer’s Block

by Carma Spence | The Author Switch Classic


Writer’s block is a common phenomenon that can happen to any writer, and it can be frustrating and make one feel like they are unable to come up with ideas or write anything that matters.

In this episode of The Author Switch, the host, Carma Spence, discusses writer’s block, including the different causes of writer’s block, which can be creative issues, mindset problems, emotional issues, environmental factors, health problems, or spiritual disconnection. The Monster Method for Busting Through Writer’s Block is presented as a framework to help writers identify the cause of their writer’s block and find a cure. Carma also provides a free tool called the Writer’s Block Assessment to diagnose writer’s block and offers personalized help for writers who need assistance.

Recap & Takeaways

  • There is a lack of useful advice available online to overcome writer’s block, and many articles deny the existence of writer’s block altogether, claiming it is a myth or an excuse.
  • Writer’s block is a symptom and not a disease, and it can have multiple unrelated causes, which have been organized into six categories in the Monster Method Framework: Creative Krakens, Mind Goblins, Emotional Hobgoblins, Environmental Ogres, Body Banshees, and Spiritual Specters.
  • The Monster Method for Busting Through Writer’s Block involves identifying the cause of the writer’s block before trying to implement a cure. The Writer’s Block Assessment tool is available for free at authorneering.com/blockassessment to diagnose the type of writer’s block and suggest appropriate remedies.

With the knowledge of the Monster Method Framework, writers can have a better understanding of what is causing their writer’s block and choose the right tips and methodologies that have the best chances of helping them overcome it and get back to writing.

Transcript for Episode 19: The Monster Method for Busting Through Writer’s Block

NOTE: Due to some ad libbing, this may not be an exact transcript.

Writer’s block is a frustrating phenomenon that can happen to any writer – even famous writers such as Leo Tolstoy, Stephen King and J.K. Rowling have experienced it. I, myself have experienced it. Writer’s Block makes you feel like there’s nothing in your head, no ideas for stories or articles and it can seem impossible to write anything that matters. It can even make you feel like you’re suddenly stupid.

In this episode, I’m going to talk about the following things:

  • What writer’s block is
  • The six types of things that cause writer’s block
  • And my Monster Method for Busting Through Writer’s Block

If you were to search the internet looking for a remedy for your writer’s block, I’m afraid you won’t find much that is of any use. I’ve done some extensive research and here’s what I’ve found:

Most of the articles are lists with only 1-3 sentences of suggested advice per tip. Light on details, mostly fluff. And not much information on whether the advice is backed by research or not. Some are just lists of quotes from authors sharing what they’ve done.

After noticing this, I decided to do a semi-scientific study of what was available. I pulled the top 14 articles that promised to provide advice on how to beat writer’s block and analyzed them.

  • Only 11 provided advice.
  • Of those, 52% of the advice addressed creative issues and 26% addressed mindset.
  • The remaining 22% were a mix of physical, emotional, or multiple-cause solutions.
writer's block content graph

What I found most surprising, and, frankly, most disappointing, was that the most common piece of advice was some version of, “suck it up and stop worrying that you’re not good enough.” But not one of the articles gave any indication of how to do that.

In addition to the very poor selection of usable advice for overcoming writer’s block, I found a lot of articles that basically said writer’s block didn’t exist. How could this be, you might ask when there are famous cases for it?

Well, those who don’t believe in writer’s block say it is:

  • A myth. That the writers who claim to have it really have something else and are misnaming it.
  • An excuse. That the writers who claim to have it really are lazy or unprofessional and are hiding behind this romantic label.

As I dug into this, I began to realize what was really going on. Because of many things that have gone on in literary history and in Hollywood, Writer’s Block had begun to be thought of as a thing in and of itself, as if writer’s block were a malady, in its own right.

But it’s not.

Writer’s Block is a symptom, not a disease.

You would no more say, “A sneeze does not exist, you have a cold,” than you should say, “Writer’s block does not exist, you have a fear of failure.”

And like a sneeze, which can be caused by anything from a cold to allergies, to a feather brushing up against your nose, writer’s block has multiple unrelated causes.

And there is a myriad of them. But, to make it easier to understand, I’ve organized them into six categories or groupings and given them fun monster names. Thus, my Monster Method for Busting Through Writer’s Block.

These six causes are, roughly in order of how common they are:

  1. Creative Krakens: When a glitch in the creative process causes the block
  2. Mind Goblins: Mindset issues
  3. Emotional Hobgoblins: Emotional issues
  4. Environmental Ogres: Things in your environment
  5. Body Banshees: Your body and health
  6. Spiritual Specters: When a disconnection from the divine causes the block

Why do you need to understand that there are six causes? Because each time you are blocked, it can come from a different cause. So, what worked to unblock you last time, might not work this time.

The premise of the Monster Method for Busting Through Writer’s Block is this: You understand that there are these six causes, and so when you are blocked, you identify the cause BEFORE you try to implement a cure.

Writer's Block Assessment Screen ShotSo how do you do that? I’m glad you asked! I’ve developed a FREE tool called the Writer’s Block Assessment that will diagnose your writer’s block for you. When you’re blocked, you take the assessment and receive your diagnosis. Then you can go about finding the right cure to get back to work. I even provide some suggestions! You can find it at authorneering.com/blockassessment

Can you see how powerful this method is? Before, you would just try out tips and hope they worked. It was like throwing things at the wall to see if they stuck. And when they did, you never knew why.

But now, armed with the knowledge of the Monster Method Framework, you have a deeper understanding of what’s really going on, and therefore can zero in on the tips and methodologies that have the best chances of helping you, which means you get back to writing more quickly. And that’s the point, right?

Of course, there may be times when you need help diagnosing your writer’s block. And, if that’s the case, I’m here for you. You can easily book time with me to discuss your needs by going to authorneering.com/schedule.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of The Author’s Switch. If you did, please give it a thumbs up or positive review on the platform you experienced it on. I invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel, as well.

And stay tuned for the next episode coming up in August, in which I will be talking with Dave Reed, author of dark, epic, fantasy fiction, who will be talking about how to tell and structure a story. If you are a fiction writer, this is a must-catch episode!

In other news, starting in September, The Author Switch will become a weekly podcast with three author interviews each month!

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The Author Switch is a podcast dedicated to helping experts, entrepreneurs, and small business owners turn on The Author Switch — and keep it on — so that they can leverage the power of books to take their businesses to a whole new dimension. Learn more about the show and where it is available on its page.