I read a blog post yesterday about writer’s block, actually more about how writer’s block does not exist. Of course everyone has their own opinions on the matter but I felt like I had to share mine. I would like to say that I agree with this blog post and that when you can’t write you should just (basically) suck it up and get over it and put some words on the page.
I would love to say that it is easy to move past the blank screen and produce greatness (or at least a first draft towards greatness anyway). I have a real problem with people who think that writer’s block is something that is just another excuse not to write or a procrastination technique. Granted there are some who do use it as an excuse and they are not genuinely blocked, however, this does not mean that every person with writer’s block is not truly blocked.
I have been through moments where I have gotten up at the designated time, prepared adequately for the work to get done, and planted my butt in the chair for hours just waiting for the words to come. They didn’t come. For a long time they just wouldn’t come. Maybe it was because I was depressed at that time or because of stress, or maybe the project just wasn’t right for me, but for whatever reason, the words wouldn’t come. I tried the “just put the words on the page” method but when the words were garbage and didn’t produce anything of value then they just didn’t mean as much.
I know that there are people who say that you should write even if what you are writing is garbage but I don’t agree with that. It is a waste of energy that could be saved up to produce work that can actually be crafted and molded into something of purpose. Sometimes your mind just needs a vacation and sometimes you are just emotionally unable to tap into that creative resource for a small period of time (not saying that it is okay for you to remain in that state) and that is what I consider a writer’s block.
I don’t determine writer’s block as just being too distracted to put the words on the paper. That is just you needed to buckle down and focus. I don’t count you choosing to party all night so then you can’t get up to show up to produce the words as a writer’s block. That just means that you need to straighten out your priorities. I don’t count the excuse of having the words trapped up in your head because you haven’t figured out how to get it on the paper (and I have made this excuse many times) as writer’s block. That is just being a little lazy and making a lot of excuses.
Writer’s block, to me, is when the words just won’t come; the struggle is there, the determination is there, the priority is there, the focus is there, but the words still won’t come. I believe that writer’s block is a lot more about a person’s emotional state when they are trying to produce work. Yes writing is typically about letting your emotions fuel the words but when they instead block the words then there might be some deep seeded issues that they have to deal with.
Writer’s block is very real to me and maybe this person who wrote the blog post expressing their view that it isn’t may never have had the displeasure of experiencing it, doesn’t make it any less real. What are your feelings about writer’s block? Do you feel like it’s real or do you think that it’s a figment of people’s imagination?
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3 thoughts on “Writer’s Block: Real or Figment of the Imagination?”
I believe there’s no writer’s block if one is willing to write about anything but if I have to write a particular subject, yes, I occasionally get writer’s block. Brain simply blanks out and shuts down. I can continue writing but it won’t be about that particular subject.
Would you agree there are different levels?
When I am really tired, I can’t write. There’s a certain point where there’s no energy left for me to pour into creative endeavors. Also, if I spend a lot of energy doing other creative things like knitting, then I have trouble writing afterwards. It’s like I only have so many creative tasks I can take on each day.