One of the most common myths about writers is we all suffer from writers’ block.
We “all” DO NOT categorically suffer from writers’ block.
There is no such mental disorder, or malaise, as “writers’ block”.
Apparently, writers’ block is a modern notion, and the term was coined in 1947 by Dr Edmund Bergler, a famous Austrian psychiatrist living in New York City. You can read a very interesting article here at the National Library of Medicine.
And, since I loved his book so much, I’ll paraphrase what John Dufresne says in his book, Storyville:
There are letter blocks for learning the alphabet. There are building blocks, and city blocks, stumbling blocks and butcher blocks. There are blocks and tackles in both football and hoisting. You can block a punch or block a hat. There are starting blocks and block letters. But there is no writers’ block. What has been called writer’s block is simply an excuse to not write. If you didn’t write today, it’s because you chose not to, not because you are blocked, not that you have a strange neurological condition that only affects writers and is untreatable, but temporary.
Just because you cannot write in the time frame you want, or at the pace you want, does not mean you have a block. It simply means there is something else going on. Or, it could be as simple as, you just don’t want to. If you have such struggles trying to write something, have you considered the fact you’re not meant to be a writer? There’s nothing wrong with that line of thinking, as it’s an incredibly honest one and digs down deep to what the issue might actually be.
“Writers’ block” in and of itself does not exist. In my opinion, it’s merely an empty umbrella phrase for a very long list of issues that have their own names.
You could be distracted by myriad of things.
Do you have a long never-ending to-do list with items just itching to be completed? Household, school, or work lists.
Are you ill, or suffer regular illnesses or physical disabilities? Do you care for someone? Partner, child, friend, other. Do you work three jobs to make ends meet? Look after a tribe of children? Yours or others.
Are you wearied by the time you get home and have no time to write? Can’t find a place to write? Can’t find the mental capacity to write?
Is inspiration for new things avoiding you? Playing hide and seek with your mind, sneaking out from behind the work you’re thinking about, and what you have to do next, or tomorrow, or next week, but is then gone when you try to snatch it and grab onto it, but it slips through your fingers like the sands of time, and then you can’t even remember what that idea was?
These are not writers’ block, or blocks of any kind. It’s actually called life. It’s called medical conditions. It’s called family, and work, and distraction of every kind imaginable.
And it’s as simple as that. Nothing stops you writing but you. Writers’ block is not a power unto itself. Ask your muse, guide, angel, the universe, etc., out loud why you can’t write. And then ask out loud why you don’t want to.
You might be surprised at the answer you receive and it could be as simple as I just don’t want to. But let me tell you, it won’t be that you’re suffering from writers’ block, it will more than likely be that you’re dealing with an incredibly messy, complicated, incomprehensible, and never-ending labyrinth called life.
So call it that, and be done with non-existent blocks. Of all kinds.