Archive for June 26th, 2012
Every now and then, I’m reminded that some writers push the “there’s no such thing as writer’s block” onto other, struggling folks. I’ve heard “You only have writer’s block if you’re boring” by writing instructors, which only serves to make people feel bad about their struggles. I’ve also heard “There’s no such thing as writer’s block,” which is a bunch of dismissive claptrap.
I’ve even heard this compared to dentistry a number of times in the past two years — I wish I could find the writer that started that meme and verbally knock some sense into that person, because that’s a load of bullshit. Writing isn’t a job purely involving diagnosis, rote tasks, and reactions. (No belittling to dentists here; I certainly couldn’t do your job, either, but it’s not the same damn thing.)
Point is, it’s better the demystify the writing process by accepting that people have problems at times rather than shame them for having those problems. So, if you want to learn how to get around writer’s block, that’s a long road and different folks had different tactics, but there are some common threads.
I, for one, used to deal with that when I was younger, in a way I now recognize as fear-based paralysis. I saw the blank page, and nothing I would write would feel as good as was in my head. The trick there is to become comfortable with acceptance — the first draft won’t be good, and that’s okay. A lesson I learned recently from Kit La Touche is that writer’s block is often about being unwilling to make a decision: “The beautiful thing about making decisions is that, once you’ve made them, you can evaluate them, and change them if need be. if you never make them, then you can’t do that.”
A couple years back, writer’s block came from neurochemical imbalance — my untreated anxiety would lock my mind up and attempting to write when I didn’t have a clear idea what to write would give me a massive headache. Once I started getting treatment, I was able to do my job again. But man, while I was in that state, being told that writer’s block didn’t exist, or that I was boring, all that shit, that just gave me cause to beat myself up. Which is why I’m keen to tell people who throw that at other writers to keep that crap to themselves. It might give you some confidence in your work, but that’s no reason to erode someone else’s.
So, friends, how do you deal with writer’s block? How do you demystify it?