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Is Writer’s Block Actually Real?

February 22, 2018

This month on The Hub, we’ve been delving into the topic of creativity – exploring the benefits and challenges of tapping into that creative part of your mind. Now we come to a topic, that almost anyone who has attempted creative work will recognize… the creative block.

The creative block is most commonly recognized through writer’s block. Though it can certainly exist in terms of pretty much any creative endeavour, we’ll focus on the concept of writer’s block as we can all pretty much relate to this idea. Writer’s block doesn’t just affect novelist. Writer’s block can hit you when you’re writing emails even. I know it has been a big part of my professional career and I’ve run up against it again and again. I tried to come up with a number of solutions for how to deal with it, such as going for a walk, listening to music, and of course, pacing back and forth until I give up for the day.

Needless to say, none of those options ended up being to miracle cure I was hoping for. Going for a walk often helps we clear my head, but I’ve often returned to the same band page with no further progress. Listening to music can get my creativity kicking, but then the song ends and I’m in the same place. Then I heard one piece of advice that changed everything. It pains me to admit, but I can’t even remember who it was I heard this gem from – a film writer, I think – and was asked in an interview the question that all successful writers are asked; how do you deal with writer’s block? After hearing his answer, I have never suffered from writer’s block since. His answer?

I don’t believe in writer’s block.”

My first instinct was to dismiss this as ego talking. The kind of explanation a professional gives an amateur to demonstrate their superior mind. But the writer went on to explain his idea. As he saw it, writer’s block is something invented by writers and when you give some serious though to it, you realise that’s undoubtedly true. There is nothing actually stopping you from writing. Most certainly, there can be a lack of ideas, or an inability to effectively process your ideas, but you can still write. And that was his point. When you hit that wall that most of us would identify as writer’s block, keep writing. It might not be your best work, it might need a lot of revisions when it’s all said and done, but you will be writing.

At the risk of stating the very obvious, creativity is about creating so letting something pause that you in your creation is something that needs to go. Now just because this method worked for me doesn’t me it will suit everyone. But next time you find yourself suffering from writer’s block, just keep writing. Write badly, write something you hate, get it out and see where that gets you. Because pacing around the room will only get you so far.

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