I like to have as complete an understanding of a person’s writing process as possible before I suggest changing anything, so I created an assessment tool for identifying problems that affect productivity. It highlights a number of issues, habits, thoughts, feelings, and other factors that are commonly associated with writing difficulties.
It is a distillation of my observations of struggling writers over the years, and its purpose is to help you target the areas of your writing process that need attention. You can find the assessment in my book, The Blocked Writer’s Book of the Dead.
I find that most writers, even those who are content with their level of productivity, will have some or several high scores on this assessment, so there is no need to get upset if you end up with a number of elevated scores. These high scores are helpful in a couple of ways: they highlight the intensity of your relationship with writing and they show you where you should apply your efforts for change.
I ask my students to pay special attention to any items that trigger emotions, immediate recognition, discomfort, confusion, or a desire to shut the book. These items point to issues that lie at the heart of their writing challenges.
There is a lot of good advice available regarding writing blocks, but unless the problems are identified specifically, you’re left guessing which approach will work for you.