Doing the Unstuck: The Myth of Writer’s Block

There’s a fantastic piece in the Huffington Post Books Blog by Lev Raphael about writer’s block. It summary, he says “writer’s block” is just an overly dramatic way of saying that as a writer, you’re “stuck”. He writes:

“Unfortunately, there’s a small industry devoted to helping people overcome “writer’s block,” to keep them from turning into Barton Fink, stuck on that one sentence. And because the culture loves stories about blocked writers like The Shining, there’s a perverse kind of glamor associated with this “condition.” It’s dramatic, it’s proof of how serious a professional you are. And hey, writers are crazy anyway, so of course they can’t do their jobs.”

I had a professor once tell me that there’s no such thing as writer’s block, that a writer writes. He said, “If you’re stuck, just write something, even if it’s a pile of shit or a glorified grocery list. Writing something, anything will help.”

Raphael suggests just doing something else for a while and letting your subconscious fix the problem. An even more probable cause, he says, is that feeling stuck is probably “connected to secrecy and revelation. It can mean we’re afraid of what we want to write, afraid of revealing too much about ourselves (or someone else), afraid of what people might think. That fear of exposure is shame, or the dread of shame.”

Bingo. I can’t tell you how many glorified grocery lists I’ve made.

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One Comment to “Doing the Unstuck: The Myth of Writer’s Block”

  1. I thought the same, but then it hit me. WB. Like glue. Bummer. I found a way to overcome it, not by writing shit or grocery lists though. Every journey is different – if the drive is in you, you can make it through.

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