Monday, August 2, 2010

Writer's Block, Part 2

I've been reading blog posts recently stating that writer's block is a myth. Their premise is that writer's block is a symptom of some other problem. So, they would say, you don't have writer's block you just have a fear of failure or you are burnt out or something else is wrong.

What utter crap! Writer's block is not a myth. It is the inability to write or communicate through the written word. Does it have root causes? Yes, absolutely; they are many and diverse. But relabeling the problem doesn't help anyone, especially the person who is blocked, and shows an utter lack of sympathy for the people who suffer from it. Is that how you would treat someone who is so nauseous they cannot eat? No, you would nurse them back to health in slow steps. Maybe you start them on tea and toast while looking for the cause of the nausea.

Having writer's block is the same thing and you should treat the same way. Start by keeping a journal and free writing daily. Start with a 10-minute session the first week and add five minutes every week thereafter until you are up to an hour. Once you can write for an hour, start reading. Read anything you enjoy. Fiction, philosophy, or anything else that interests you. Get your mind going.

But also look at the root causes. Are you afraid of success? Or is it failure? Maybe you are burnt out? Maybe you don't like yourself very much? Maybe you are making an association with writing that is hard for you to cope with? Maybe your 3rd grade teacher scalded you so badly you feel insecure when you write. Whatever it is, find out the cause and attack it. Knock down your barrier, confront your fears, and deal with the issues you face. The only way out is to face it and go out the other side. Avoidance solves nothing.

If you need help, check the phonebook. There are plenty for professional people you can talk to. Or go to the bookstore, there are plenty of self-help book too. But do something. Something others than relabel the problem and blame yourself. That's just a waste of time and solves nothing.

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