Writer’s Block

Woman writing

You want to write but don’t know what to write next. You sigh and hang your head and begin to have doubts about your vocation. All of us who are trying to make friends with the pen and paper have experienced writer’s block at one time or another. But is it really a bad thing?

In my case, I’ve come to interpret writer’s block as a sign that I’m trying to write something that I shouldn’t be writing. A story that is remote from my heart and from my mind, that covers events I don’t know anything about. Or a story for which my voice is not yet mature enough.

Writer’s block is more likely to occur when the narrative has one protagonist only, at least for me. Stories with multiple characters and locations admit more possibilities and leave more free room for the imagination.

Also, I’m more likely to face writer’s block when I don’t plan the story ahead, or set milestones. I find the restrictions and limitations that an outline creates liberating.

“Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?”
― Kurt Vonnegut

The species of writer’s block I’m most likely to suffer from is not the product of a lazy imagination, but of an overworked one. I have so many ideas that I don’t know which to develop first. I want to write romances and adventure tales and thrillers, and some I want to be fantasy and others realistic, and half I want to be novels and half short stories, and I wish I were a triple-headed centipede so I could write them all at once.

In the end, I don’t think writer’s block is a bad thing. I think it’s just a symptom that you’re not telling the right story. Because if you would tell the right story, everything would fall into place, and although the writing won’t be easy – it never is – it will feel right.

What do you make of writer’s block?

33 thoughts on “Writer’s Block

  1. I like that thought….
    makes sense doesn’t it….
    Take Care…

  2. Absolutely right. When the story stalls, your subconscious is probably sending you an important message. The hard thing is to decipher it – is there something more I need to learn before I can write this? Is it only a matter of a quick tweak? Or have I got things totally wrong? In other words, is this a piece of work with a fatal flaw that will never fly, no matter what I do to it? The other difficulty, I find, is to move on and do something else while I am asking myself all these questions. Brooding is what makes for a real block.

  3. Heh, I don’t even know if I can be considered a writer, great post anyway! Speaks the same tune as the ones I can’t put into words..yet.

  4. I can completely understand, when your heart isn’t in it, your mind usually isn’t either. Sometimes I also think, the “pressure” of writing can be the problem too.

  5. I find that when my writing stalls it’s because I’ve been sitting too long and living in my writing. Writing comes from life. I leave my writing and live my life. And for perspective I spend as much time as I can in nature. The river always has good advice.

  6. I never looked at writer’s block that way, but I think I would have to agree. Usually when it strikes, I just am not feeling what it is I’m writing. Many times I just have to stop and not continue and move on to something else. Sometimes I never finish what I’ve started, other times I come back after months away from it and finally have the knowledge or experience to finish what ever it was. And like you, I have way too many ideas floating around in my head and I never feel like I can find the right one to start. I usually have about ten different story lines, or ideas, floating around at any given moment.

  7. Good eXplanation! I like your idea that block is not a lack of imagination! Although sometimes it is great to have various ideas and genres in your head, so result is your own compilation of all!

  8. Reblogged this on Iam Who Iam and commented:
    I chose this post for my “Weekly Reblog” because it’s so true that it feels like something I already knew (but didn’t know I knew until the boy with the hat reminded me). I suspect the boy’s interpretation of writers’ block (as a sign we’re trying to write something we shouldn’t be writing) applies to ALL types of blocks (when we just can’t seem to accomplish whatever it is we think we’re supposed to be accomplishing).

  9. “In my case, I’ve come to interpret writer’s block as a sign that I’m trying to write something that I shouldn’t be writing.”

    Yes. This is me. I fully agree. When I am writing something I’m passionate about, the words just flow. But when I’m not…

    But, also, have you seen my poem, “writer’s block”? You might like it, so here it is:

    I’m reaching and falling,
    I’m hemming and hawing,
    I’m trying and failing,
    I’m rowing, now bailing.


    Another day.

  10. Reblogged this on boy with a hat and commented:

    Curious reader of my blog, this week I’ll be shamelessly republishing some of my best posts from last year. If you haven’t read them already, now is the time to make amends.

  11. A great point of view! Very positive and encouraging… way better than the depressing thoughts that cross your mind at every writer’s block!

  12. I love this post, as I did the first time I read it. Writer’s block has not been my problem recently. The problem has been finding the time to write…

    I wish my silence had more to do with travel plans, though, as you previously suggested… My trip may have to be put off… 😦

  13. Well, i used to experience writers block a lot. But then, i started conversing with people, less and less.Its not that i don’t experience it anymore but the occurrence is less. :p trying to be a writer is hard especially when you catch hold of something and instead of writing about it one tends to talk about it to people.

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