Writer’s Block – Fact or Fiction?
I was talking with a writer pal of mine and he lamented he had just gone through a bout of writer’s block. I scoffed at the notion, having never experienced it myself. A little later, I mentioned it to Kate, who argued that yes, it was a real phenomenon. To her, there has been more than one instance of staring at a blank page, uncertain how to write a class assignment.
I’ve also heard of writers who haven’t published for year’s claiming they have been horribly blocked.
From my experience, it may be true that you’re blocked on the one topic or assignment but not blocked from writing. I trained, as it were, as a journalist, always on deadline. Writer’s block was not acceptable and you had to put words on paper, editing as you go or rewriting afterwards. As a result, I have become a strong first draft writer, never hesitating to get started. Also, I tend to think about what I intend to write before actually committing words to screen. Once I start, it tends to flow.
I also have several things going on at once, so if I can’t think of a good hook or opening for Project A, I can easily turn to Project B and something will come. To my way of thinking, people blocked tend to be blocked only on the one project, not on writing. So, yes, students like Kate may experience trouble with the specific assignment and its attendant deadline.
Writer’s Block can also be a crutch, and an easy out when stumped. There are some who torture themselves unable to write Project A and only willing to write Project A. Until they write Project A, all other works stops. Therefore, they let themselves be blocked.
Now, as it turns out, my pal used Block as an excuse for laziness and a little crisis of confidence as some of his more recent works have not sold as yet (they will, they’re good) and public recognition has been limited at best. Still, he has ideas aplenty, all clamoring for attention so I know he’s not really blocked. Sometimes, that’s where a swift kick in the ass from editor, agent, spouse or friend is required.