Don’t Let Your Ego Block Your Writing…or your Dreams

Steven Barnes
8 min readJan 25, 2023

Thirty years ago I was teaching at UCLA Extension. They had a sort of collective event, where each instructor made a presentation, describing the content of their classes, what they had to offer students, so that those students could make informed decisions. When it was my turn, I described the class I called “writer’s toolbox” which was a cornucopia of techniques to access and utilize the infinite creativity within us. One of the subjects was “crushing writer’s block.”

After the event, a woman who taught one of the other modules came up to me. She was angry. “Why did you lie to them?” She asked.


“Its IMPOSSIBLE to break writer’s block. You were lying to them.” She shook her finger in my face, and then walked away, shaking.

What can be extracted from this? Well, first of all, I knew something she didn’t: I wasn’t lying. Therefore, she was simply wrong. Ignorant.

But remember: anger is fear. What was she afraid of?

It was obvious to me in a single moment: she was blocked, and what I said, who I was, threatened her. Why?

Well…fear generally relates to pretty basic things. Let’s march up the Chakras and see if we can apply this to build a map of her internal process.

Survival? There was no physical threat.

Sex? Well…if her sexual attractiveness was based on power, it was possible that someone might perceive her as…



Steven Barnes

Steven Barnes is a NY Times bestselling author, ecstatic husband and father, and holder of black belts in three martial arts.