Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BEDA 7: Writer's Block

So, as the author and famous video blogger John Green once said, "writer's block is just a different kind of not trying."
This had never occurred to me before I heard it, but now I absolutely, 100% agree.
I don't believe in writer's block. It doesn't exist.
Here's the thing: what do you mean you have writer's block?
Just keep writing.
Not sure where the story is headed, what you want your characters to do, feel like you've written yourself into a corner and there's no way out? Just keep writing. Or delete all the progress you made that put you in said corner. Either way. Those are your two options.
I think I just don't really understand how writer's block could ever exist as an actual thing. Whether you're having trouble with stringing individual words together, or making something specific happen in a scene, or you feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project itself, the answer is always to just try harder. I've often heard that sometimes you have to write six pages to get one good page, and I've often found that the one page worth saving is the sixth page you write. It's all about getting into a flow, and simply saying you're stuck and refraining from writing all together will never fix that.
I think maybe a different kind of writer's block would be that you just don't have anything to write about at all. You want to write, but there's just nothing there. It's "blocked." Well, in that case, what's the point? If you've got nothing to say, why try so hard to say it?
Maybe you're not a writer at all. Had you ever considered that? That there are people who are and people who are not writers? Here's how you can tell the difference:
If it doesn't demand your constant attention, if you aren't at all times narrating in your head, planning, and considering your writing, if you don't feel overwhelmed and over-burdened by the pressure to write something good and if you don't feel it would kill you to not do it, then maybe you're not a writer. Or maybe you just shouldn't write. Because if you're not driven to it, and if you don't feel this incredible need to get it out of you, then really, what's the point?
As Bukowski said, "The libraries of the world have yawned themselves to death with your kind."
As Bill Hicks said, "Play from your fucking heart."
I understand being stuck. I understand being frustrated. I understand not knowing how to get from point A to point B, or even not really knowing what point B is. But writer's block as some inescapable doom in the process? I don't think so.

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