About the Post

Author Information

Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Poop Principle Prevents Writer’s Block

The wisdom of the “Do What You Love, Love What You Do” principle needs to be complimented by the awareness that sometimes you have to do what you don’t love to do so you can keep doing what you do love to do.

I call it the Poop Principle, which states that in any endeavor, no matter how much you love something or someone, there will always be some amount of poop.

For example, I love dogs but I do not love picking up dog poop. We hire a service to remove it from our yard, but every walk results in a pile or two per dog that I’m responsible for. So I pick up the poop even though I don’t want to. Because that’s what responsible dog lovers do.

You can delegate picking up some of the poop, but there will always be some you just have to pick up yourself. Because that’s what responsible people do.

When to Use Which Principle?

If you’re blocked or resistance is keeping you from writing the way you love, apply the Do What You Love Principle for several weeks. Ignore the poop long enough to remember what you love about writing.

When your writing is going strong, add a bit of the Poop Principle. But always keep the Love-Poop ratio high – much more love than poop. (We’ll talk more about this in the next post.)

Writer’s Poop List

My Writer’s Poop List includes:

  • Writing query letters
  • Getting rejection letters
  • Getting bad reviews or negative feedback
  • Getting no reviews or feedback
  • Waiting for checks that don’t arrive when expected

What’s On Your List?

It’d oddly freely to let yourself rant and rail on the page about all the s**t you have to put up with. So what’s the poop in your writing/creative life? What parts of being a writer do you wish you didn’t have to deal with? Please share your Writer’s Poop List in a comment.

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2 Comments on “Poop Principle Prevents Writer’s Block”

  1. Audrey November 19, 2012 at 6:20 am #

    Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I wanted to say that it’s nice to know that an individual else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the exact same information elsewhere. This was the very first location that told me the answer. Thanks.



  1. Keep the Poop Principle and Writer’s Block in Their Place « The Bane of Your Resistance - November 4, 2012

    […] The previous post invited you to write your Writer’s Poop List of the things you don’t love about being a writer. So why do we deal with all this s**t? […]


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