A usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work.*
Yes, writer’s block. Many people ask me how I deal with it.
But I don’t even believe in it. Barring a permanent physical or mental disability, nothing can ever stop you from writing. You might think you’ve been temporarily affected, but . . .
Can you write the alphabet?
Can you write down the conversations of people around you?
Can you write the first words that come to mind when you think about your project?
Then you don’t have writer’s block.
And just because you’ve hit a sticky spot in your writing doesn’t mean you’re facing writer’s block, either. Not knowing how to get from Point A to Point B is a common occurrence. If, every time you’re challenged, you say that the seeming inability to overcome said challenge originates from “writer’s block,” then you are training yourself to give up every time you encounter an obstacle. That is a horrendous habit to pick up if you wish to complete rather than just begin your writing. Instead, actively seek a way out of the bind, even if it seems futile. Don’t wait until some nebulous mental plague relinquishes its capricious grip on you. That day will never come, because there is no such thing.
Some writers will say, “But I really just can’t write anything right now.” Well, they can write. What they are really saying is, “I can’t write anything good right now.” Ha! Who thinks even Tolstoy and Dickens churned out brilliant first drafts? Not a single person in all of human history has been known for consistently producing excellent, one-draft copy. Please don’t think you should be creating quality copy in the first draft.
The delusion that one or two write-throughs will make good copy is common. I’m ashamed to say that for several of my writing classes in college, I often wrote one draft of an assignment, then re-read it for typos. That was it. I thought I was so brilliant that I didn’t need to try any harder. My teachers’ comments showed otherwise.
We writers love entertaining fanciful ideas, but with writer’s block we’ve gone too far. No mysterious mental blockages descend on anyone in any other profession or hobby. Call it what it is: a challenge, and keep writing, even if what you’re churning out seems like nothing more than nonsense. You will be a better writer for it.