Does Writer’s Block Exist?
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Writers fall into two crowds on writer’s block–those who believe it exists, and those who believe it doesn’t. I’m on the side of it does exist because I’ve been through it. I remember reading in one book–a novel–where the writer character derided writer’s block as being, “Woe is me” and expecting people to ply the beleaguered writer with wine and cheese. Someone else called it “creative laziness.” That attitude is around a lot. I do get where it comes from. If you’re writing to a deadline, you can’t afford to say, “I have writer’s block.”
That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a problem. It means that the writers in question have found ways around times when they get stuck. James Moran, a writer for Torchwood, says:
Basically, writer’s block can be anything that means you cannot continue writing right now, anything that stops you going to the next scene. Anything that dents your confidence, stops the flow, fucks your story up.
When I was in college, the one thing I wanted to do was write. I think a lot of writers go through that, and they try different forms, thinking all writing is the same. A well-meaning relative said that if I wanted to make a living at it, try Hollywood. To do that, I would have to master writing a script a week. Since I was relatively inexperienced to writing like this–my only experience consisted of short stories written for other kids–I started writing scripts non-stop. I produced 30-40 television and movie scripts, moving from one script to the next. Then suddenly I was dry.
I’d written so much that I’d burned myself out and suddenly had a case of writer’s block that lasted for two years. In hindsight, I probably got warning signs of the burn out and was too inexperienced to recognize them. Instead, I zoomed right past them and into the “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!” zone.
I’ve since seen burnout elsewhere. One was a writer for Mission: Impossible’s first season. Another was a writer from a popular Aaron Spelling show (name of show edited out to eliminate spam). Edgar Rice Burroughs also had some problems with it–he was producing so many words that he had repetitive injuries from typing!
You can choose not to believe writer’s block exists for you, but do remember there are people out there who have gone through it.
- Posted in: Thoughts