Blogger Hannah Heath has begun doing YouTube videos also. In a recent one (Oct 2017), someone asked her about “writer’s block”. She replied that she didn’t believe in it, and went on to explain that too often writers use that excuse for not writing. In the normal work-a-day world, most of us have paying jobs. We don’t have the leisure to simply say, “I have CPA block”, or “I have brain surgeon block”, or “I have auto mechanic block”. We have to show up to work and do the best we can anyway. Allowing ourselves to ‘enjoy’ the leisure of writer’s block frees us from the responsibility of dealing with it. Accountants do accounting and writers do writing.
Her point is interesting, and well made. Writer’s block does conveniently allow us to stop writing for a while, and it sounds so creative and grandiose in the bargain. But as Hannah points out, instead we need to examine what our ‘block’ actually is, and then actively do something toward removing it, or getting around it.
Are we lacking inspiration? If so, are we doing anything to gain inspiration? Research? Writing out every possible idea we can come up with to see if something workable presents itself?
Are we just burned out on writing and need a break? If so, are we setting aside a fixed amount of time to take that break, with a firm deadline of when to come back to it? This would be the equivalent of scheduling your vacation in the regular working world. At the end of the vacation period you DO have to return to work, whether you ‘want’ to or not.
If you can point to something more concrete than ‘block’, then you have a better chance of overcoming it. If I tell you “the road is blocked”, you have no idea how to respond. Is the road flooded, but in time the water will drain and it will again be passable? Was the road washed away entirely in the flood and no passage will be possible until the road is rebuilt? Is a tree down and blocking the road, and a chainsaw could quickly remedy the situation?
Finding the source of the block lets you make a plan for dealing with the delay or setback. It’s difficult to fight against the unknown.
Name your problem, then work to resolve it.