Writer’s Block Isn’t Real

And yet I cannot figure out how to write right now

Sarah McManus MSc
3 min readAug 26, 2021


Photo by Mike Tinnion on Unsplash

As soon as I was old enough to understand what writer’s block is, I insisted that there is no such thing. I began writing at a young age, in the form of storyboard-style illustrations and continued on to hand-written short stories once I had the attention span and ideas. I wrote my first ‘novel’ at 9, which was essentially very surreal B*Witched fan-fiction, which read exactly as you would expect from that description.

Throughout my teens, I traded in my over-dramatic short stories for over-dramatic, angst-riddled, emo poetry, before moving on to a series of false start attempts at novels. My first ‘real’ novel didn’t happen until my early twenties but it did jump-start things.

And no matter what stage I’ve been at in my writing ‘career’, I have stood by the fact that there is no such thing as writer’s block. To me, it felt like the excuse of the ‘literary fiction’ writer, stuck in their pursuit of writing the perfect novel. You know the ones I mean, the kind of writers who work on the same book for eight years in a row and wonder why it’ll never be finished.

Partly I’ve believed this because it seems so easy to fix. A few years ago, I felt stuck and wondered if I’d finally been hit by this dreaded condition. I was struggling to begin my fourth novel and thought I’d hit a wall. So I decided to try something different, a short horror story. Writing that was quite a palate cleanser, and it poured out of me practically whole. It also ended up being my first piece of traditionally published writing.

That experience only served to cement my belief. When I’d felt stuck, all I’d needed to do was switch up my genre a little and I had success. Unfortunately, I don’t think that same method is going to work this time.

Right now, I have 3 first drafts at different stages. A novella sitting at 9,500 words, a novel at 8,900, and a novel at 30,000+, yet I can’t seem to work on any of them. Not even in the same way as usual where my mind is all abuzz with new ideas either, which is why I have 3 first drafts on the go in the first place, I’m just…not able to work on them.

I open the documents, I stare for a little while, I might manage to add 50–100 words…



Sarah McManus MSc

Sarah is a UK-based writer with an MSc in Psychology. She writes about mental health & Neurodiversity. She is also the Owner and Editor of The Blade & Beyond.