I’ve always suspected that writer’s block is a bunch of baloney (especially when I feel like I have it), but today I came across a quotation about writer’s block by Anne Patchett that makes so much sense:
“I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think writer’s block is just a myth that was invented by people who either don’t want to work or people who aren’t ready to get an idea down on paper. So if I can’t write, if I’m stuck, it’s because I’m trying to figure something out. The other thing is my husband, who is a doctor, goes to work every single day, and he doesn’t get ‘doctor’s block’. He doesn’t just say, “I don’t have any idea what this patient has, and I’m just gonna go home and lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling and eat popcorn.” Which is what writers do. It’s like we have this built-in ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card going called Writer’s Block. But if you work, you just work, and sooner or later, you’ll get through it.”
– Ann Patchett
Yup. That pretty much sums it up.
I’m tempted to print this quote out, frame it, and hang it above my desk. It’s so true: whenever I don’t want to work or I’m not ready to get an idea down on paper, that’s exactly when writer’s block pops up. I had “writer’s block” all winter.
But that was the snow’s fault. Not mine.
Anyway, this idea of writer’s block being a myth makes me happy. Not because I needed a big name writer to say it, but because deep down I knew this was true and now I know how to think about it and approach it the next time it comes up.
Sometimes just starting is the hardest part. The scariest part. And if we can avoid it, we won’t have to deal with it.
But doing work gets the brain moving again. It the hard part but the necessary part, too. Especially if you want to get anything done.
What are your experiences with writer’s block? Do you believe in it, or is it a much of crap? How do you overcome it when it strikes?