Writer’s Block: is it really a question?

There has been a lot going on in my life this last few weeks, and I’ve let distraction become a habit. But, I have discovered something that may change the way I look at the dreaded Writer’s Block.

One busy day, sitting on crowded public transport, I heard someone say they used to write but had gotten Writer’s Block and stopped. Not just the project, but all together. I was stunned. It took me minute to realise I was in the early stages of doing almost the same. Except I was asking why.

That day, I decided that it wasn’t some sort of innate ability that separated people who beat Block and those who don’t, it was something else. I’d had Writer’s Block for nearly three months when that conversation happened. In fact, at the same time 12months ago, I was getting pretty close to the stage where I thought I would never write ever again. And then I wrote the first drafts of 3 books to end that year…

Which begs the question, what was different about me? The truth is, nothing. Or, rather, nothing but my understanding of Writer’s Block.

Writer’s Block is your brain telling you something. It’s a feeling made up of all the little bits of information you process without realising, and it’s pretty good at not telling you what’s going on. Writer’s Block is not a statement. Writer’s Block is a question: What is going on that makes it hard to write?

Next time you’re feeling a little Blocked, get out some paper and write down all the things that are getting in your way. Don’t analyse it until you’re all done, until all the worries and bothers are out on that paper where you can look at them. They don’t have to be story related, they can be life related. I have two lists, one story and one external. And all the things on those lists are real, valid things. Sure, they may sounds silly, but accepting what the issues are is the first step to making the changes necessary to get writing again.

Writing isn’t always simple, and a lot of the time even the best plots come unraveled as they’re written. The same thing that leads to those amazing moments of story clarity can also form Writer’s Block. Listen to both sides. Some days it’s easier to say ‘I can’t, I have Writer’s Block’, but I always feel a bit silly using that as an excuse. So I’ve let my Muse have a rant, and hopefully I can deal with the issue and get to the page quicker than if I waited for it to resolve itself. After all, I need to focus when I’m off doing non-writing things, and the only way to do that is to let myself know I’m doing something about Writer’s Block.

Bridget; the too-smart-for-her-own-good horse. Don’t worry, the scar on her nose happened when she was little, not recently. She is so clever I have to be on my toes to work with her, and not berating myself for not getting words done.

Bridget (2)

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2 thoughts on “Writer’s Block: is it really a question?

  1. This is actually my favorite post ever right now, because I’ve been trying to work through this same block for the past few months and it’s like swimming through molasses at some points. I’ve had it since the end of November, which makes this the fourth month I’ve been just stuck. Finally, I was in my Basic Music class and totally ready to draw like usual, but I didn’t have a pencil, and I can’t draw with pens. So instead, I started writing down questions. What happens to this character? Which scenario is better, A or B? I ended up with three pages filled with me working out story problems by the end of my two hour class. I’m still struggling, but I can feel that I’m almost out of it. It just takes me setting my mind to figuring out problems instead of sweeping them under the rug like usual.

    • Glad to hear that I managed to write something helpful about Writer’s Block. Anything you can do to find out what the problems are, and solve them, is going to help a lot, even if you have no idea where it’s going to go. I’m so pleased that you’re getting through it, nothing seems quite as odd as staring at the screen, knowing you can write, but not knowing what to do because you can’t.

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