What is Writer's block?


Calvin & Hobbs

What is Writer's block?

Well, it's pretty much forged entirely from self-doubt.

We know the scene, all too well. A frustrated writer, you decide one day to pour your heart and soul into something you love, something that nourishes you and fills you up with the warm, fuzzy stuff. You set yourself up a perfect writing space and settle down, ready for the words to spill onto the page like a fine wine. Then self doubt chimes in. It's oily voice dribbling in your ear.

"What makes you think you can write?" "Do you even know what a comma is?" "It's all been done before." "People won't like it, your characters, your story, your voice but most of all, YOU!"

These little nuggets of self-doubt compound together and build and build, forming the foundations of a luxurious, 12 storey high, Writer's block, complete with helipad and underground parking. There's a 24 hour concierge, who strongly resembles the person who bullied you at school and whose sole purpose is to scowl at you and tell you how rubbish you are. Procrastination lives in the penthouse, and he keeps inviting you up to watch cat videos, and see what's new on the internet (spoiler alert, there's nothing new.) He also makes you lots of cups of tea and says helpful things like "we'll do it tomorrow".

Before you know it you have been living in The Writer's Block for nearly a year, It's blank white walls taunting you daily, and procrastination has become your new best friend.

But how to escape?

Some sneak out of a side door, by writing something completely different from what they had initially planned. It's all good; you're now free.

Some escape Andy Dufresne style, slowly scraping away, day by day, until finally, they stand waist-deep in their written words, hands to the sky, triumphantly screaming.

Others go full John Mclane and blow the shit out of that block in one night, throwing the concierge from the rooftop and screaming yippee-k-yay as they go.

Whichever method you decide, the secret to your escape is words, write them down, whatever they are, even if they are complete gobbledegook. They are the key.

Our fear of rejection, of not being accepted by our peers, of not being good, is simply rhetoric used by anxiety to keep us right where it wants us. It's ok to want to be good and accepted, and something we all hope for, but it shouldn't be why we write. Write because you love it, for the warm and fuzzies and the nourishment, anything else is a bonus. When that pressure lifts, when you do it for you, you will be surprised how much easier everything becomes. A sage man said to me this week, other people's opinions of you are none of your business and boy, oh boy did that let me off the hook!

So, armed with emerging confidence, I'm currently formulating my escape from Writer's Block, by spiking the concierge's tea with a laxative. He needs it. He's full of shit.

#writing #writersblock #selfdoubt #selfesteem #author

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