Writer's Block: The Myth. The Stupidity. The Dumb Excuse

Monday, April 30, 2012

I always believe in my favorite soccer team. Though they suck – and they really do at the moment – I always think they’ll win when the game starts. God, however, I’m not so sure I believe in. At least not the God mentioned in the world’s first bestseller, the Bible. One thing I’m certain I don’t believe in, though, is writer’s block. God may or may not exist, but writer’s block definitely doesn’t. 

“There's no such thing as writer's block. That was invented by people in California who couldn't write.”
Terry Pratchett

If it was really invented by people in California, I have no idea. But I’m sure it was, indeed, invented by people who couldn’t write. Writer’s block is nothing but an excuse. Because of the misconception that writing isn’t hard work, those who don’t put in the effort need an excuse to why they’re not producing words on their paper.

Sure, sometimes your writing won’t flow. But blocked? Nah. More like stuck in a corner you’ve written yourself into. Delete. Write a different scene. Take a break. Change writing venue. Switch from computer to pen and paper. Read for a while. Go cook dinner. Take a walk. Put in some more effort. But whatever you do, don’t tell yourself or anyone else that you have writer’s block. You might end up believing it yourself, and then you’re truly screwed.

What you need isn’t to hide behind an excuse. You need a prompt so you can get past the road bump – because that’s all it is. It’s not a road block. Analyze why you’ve stopped writing – is the scene going in the right direction? Are your characters behaving as they should? Is the dialogue unnatural or stilted? Find out what the following scene will be and use it as a guiding light to get through the one giving you a problem. You’re not blocked – if anything, you’re lost. So get unlost. It’s your damn story! Writing is hard work, but it’s not rocket science. Well, unless you’re writing about rocket science. And odds are that you’re not.

By using the term writer’s block, all you’re really doing is making things harder for yourself. Instead of making excuses (and worse, actually believing them), then work hard at getting through whatever problems you’re having with your story. The perfect recipe on how to move forward with your story when you feel you’re stuck is the same as the perfect recipe on how to write a story – you find your own. There are as many approaches to writing as there are writers, and with some work and effort, you can find one that works for you.   

Saying “I have writer’s block” may fly with some people. All I hear is “I’m not invested enough in my story to put in the effort required.”

So quit with the excuses and write! 


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