Writer’s Block


I’ve seen writers who say they don’t believe in writers block. I believe in it.

I believe.

But it’s not this bogus stuff about not being able to write. For me, it’s the process of not being able to move forward. Which is, trust me, different. I can generate lots of words, it’s just that they don’t actually solve the problem at hand and must then be deleted — again and again and again.

In my case, it’s often related to a realization that there’s a plot or character problem, but I don’t know what the problem is. Or, more often, I know what the problem is, but I don’t like how much work it’s going to take for me to acknowledge it and fix it. So I delay, and try to avoid making the decision.

And here’s where the real indication of writer’s block happens: I start thinking of a whole new way to write the entire story from scratch that would avoid the problem I’ve got with the current version entirely. Brilliant! It’s the equivalent of scoping women in the grocery store when you’re having marital problems at home. “Yeah, that one over there, I’ll bet we could have a beautiful relationship…” And of course, you could. Because it’s all a fantasy.

I’m trying to get better at realizing when I’m hitting a difficult puzzle, acknowledging it, and then making the hard decisions that will salvage what I’ve already done, rather than throw it all out and start afresh with a newer shinier story that will also, inevitably betray me.