I think I've mentioned before that half of all Creative Writing books are self-help, rather than actual manual. There is an actual legitimate reason for this, and that's because writing is, or can be, quite hard. There's a whole other issue of why one would bother doing it, if it's so hard, but that's possibly a subject for another time. Let's just assume that writers want to write except sometimes they don't feel like writing, or can't bring themselves to write, or are scared.
So there's laziness, that's a thing that can stop you writing. I feel as though people who are inclined to write fiction, the dreamers, the Dorothys, the Dawsons, are probably the same kind of people who are easily distracted. Personally, I spent a vast amount of my teen years being distracted by Buffy and teen angst, and still am to a lesser degree. During university, I spent a lot of my time smoking alone in my room, playing on the internet and illegally downloading TV shows I'm too embarrassed to admit to watching (let alone loving). Even as a proper grown up, ahem, I can still find myself getting distracted by the vast array of entertainments available to me. Forums, in particular, sap a lot of my time. I don't even write in them! I just like seeing what other people think about things! Lurking bastard.
Anyway, all this distraction, really, is actually just the laziness, really, a failure to channel your dreameriness into something useful. I think a lot of people who like to write (or do anything creative) can get so busy being inspired by other people's creations, they forget to be creative themselves. Or maybe I'm just making excuses for them and they're just lazy. Anyway, the solution to this problem is growing up, basically, and, though I hate to use such phrases, a bit of self-realisation. Eventually, I think, you wake up to the fact that things won't get done until you do them. I am still having to remind myself of this on a daily basis.
But supposing that you are feeling all energetic and that you definitely want to get things done, there are still a number of personal demons that can stop you from getting any writing done. What if you're not feeling very creative? Time for another inspirational animation!
Or there are any number of books designed to help. I have this one: The Writer's Idea Book
And what if you get The Fear? Cripes, what if you do? Unfortunately, scientists have found, the only way to defeat The Fear, is to defeat The Fear, which you do by confronting The Fear. Applying this to writing, because really it's applicable to all aspects of all lives, if you're worried you're no good at writing, and this is stopping you from writing, you just need to do more writing. The Fear is really just a kind of overthinking, right? So stopping thinking is also good.
I think I had The Fear last week and it made me want to scrap my novel. But, well, I persevered, a little bit, and I had a mini-breakthrough! And now I'm excited about the book again. Phew! I expect about eighty more instances of this before the book is complete. I've now rewritten three of the four chapters that needed a complete overhaul, and expect to have the fourth finished by the end of the weekend. And then, may the wonderfulness that is picking my own book apart begin!