No Such Thing as Writer’s Block
No Such Thing as Writer’s Block

No Such Thing as Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block. Everyone says they get it. They wax eloquent about it to any who will listen, often—ironically, writing lengthy posts on social media.

It’s a romantic idea. Facing the blank page. It makes me think of depressed people in crappy apartments in France somewhere, limbs akimbo in dramatic torpor on their fainting couch with a bottle of wine, despair on their faces, cheese crumbs on the floor.

Writer’s block is a choice.

Now before everyone sends letter bombs and hate-mail my way calling me an unsympathetic Neanderthal who probably kicks puppies, allow me to explain.

Writers tend to assign more mysticism to their craft than other artists. Take for example a painter. If he went to his studio, put a bunch of paint on his pallet, pulled out a fresh sheet of paper fixed it on an easel, admired the form of some fruit, or even better a large quantity of naked person, and you came to see him a few hours later, you would not find a blank piece of paper. Unless of course he was hungry and ate the fruit or was really fond of the naked person.

The painter might well tell you it was not his best work. Perhaps the proportion is a bit off, the lighting, he gave the naked person cellulite. Whatever the case you would have a painting, a tangible product of the artists labor.

Not so writers. They often claim they cannot write a single word. I know this is a generalization, but tough, I can’t possibly speak about every writer on earth specifically.

What is really happening to a writer claiming writer’s block—wine sipping posers aside, is that fear has overcome our will. Or as Steven Pressfield calls it, resistance. Call it what you will, no force on earth can stop your hand and a pencil, or your fingers on a keyboard. None except you.

So, before we can be truly blocked, we must choose. We choose not to risk writing poorly and instead, to not write at all. As I sit composing this blog, I decided to look up a few quotes, hoping that some impressive authors would share my opinion. Turns out almost all of them do. Here are a few of note:

“I think writer’s block is when you say to yourself, “I could write something, but it wouldn’t be good enough.” There’s no such thing as a complete inability to write a sentence.’ Scott Adams

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.’ Mark Twain, American author

“Writer’s block is a fancy term made up by whiners so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol.’ Steve Martin

 

And my favorite

 

“Writer’s block… a lot of howling nonsense would be avoided if, in every sentence containing the word WRITER, that word was taken out and the word PLUMBER substituted. Do plumbers get plumber’s block? What would you think of a plumber who used that as an excuse not to do any work that day? The fact is that writing is hard work.’ Philip Pullman, British author

 

So, my fellow scribblers, when you fell like you absolutely can’t write, you have a choice. Do or don’t. Writing isn’t for everyone, it requires a lot of delayed gratification. That includes getting on with it during those writing sessions that just don’t feel right or putting up with reading yesterday’s prose knowing it is probably all going to end up in the recycle bin. That’s ok. In fact, its better than ok. Because to get to those awesome sessions where the sentences rattle themselves off like magic and the ideas seem to flow through you faster than you can think, you have to be at the keyboard in the first place. Come on, its better than digging ditches. I even think it’s better than painting. Although we could take page out of their book when it comes to the nude models.

So, don’t feed the melodrama when you are having a bad writing day. Work through it. There is good stuff on the other side. Choose to write.

 

Write Brave

 

Kent

3 Comments

  1. Writer’s block = every writer’s Crisis moment… Will I choose to give into resistance and risk never getting my story out into the world? Or will I push through resistance and risk writing something brilliant? Put that way, it sounds like a no brainer, right? I read somewhere that people can fear success as much as they fear failure. What IF you write today and it turns out amazing? What IF you finish that draft and it becomes the next great American novel? You’ll never know if you keep letting resistance pin you to the floor. Loved your post!

  2. Great post! Those quotes are spot on!
    I don’t think I struggle with writers block. Like what Savannah said in her comment I think I am more focused on the failure or the success. I love dreaming about what my story could become and that keeps me going. When it comes to fear I try to block it out, and keep on writing.

  3. Becky Sowells

    Excellent points. On pointe quotes. Love your take on things. I will not wax poetic at the thought or more accurately, the eh hm, the excuse of writer’s block. I will however admit, I write in spurts, feverishly scrawling words to page. My first attempt at getting the thoughts out in some form of comprehension. I smile, take a breath deeply as I reread the chicken scratch. I add to it where I can and take away as needed, and then, another idea hits, and a new page I sit before me, and the process begins again. I do try to make it fit together cohesively and sometimes the puzzle pieces of random writings drop perfectly into place on the page, other times, the pieces don’t quite fit. I sigh, feeling utterly defeated, and place the pages out of sight in a drawer, that has become a graveyard of sorts for stories untold. But Every so often, I breathe new life into this one, or that in hopes the dead will walk again into a new story that will live in my brain for a while, and Then Be frankenstiened together for a better creation. It’s a cycle. But, I have hope, that soon, my little monsters will see the light of day, and step out of the shadows to scare and ravage others minds! I know, I am a special kind of twisted. If only I could get past the crippling fear of my monsters not being accepted into the world, that the masterpieces will be unappreciated and flogged by the masses…it terrifies me. So, Until then… In the graveyard drawer, they remain.

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