21 Comments

I really loved reading this as another HATER of the concept of “writer’s block”! to me it’s very strongly associated with this romanticised, mythologised idea of a writer being blocked or unblocked by mysterious forces that they have no control over…

writing can be very ordinary and unromantic. it can just be about writing a really bad sentence and promising yourself it can be edited later. it can be about journaling and reading and talking to friends and figuring out what the actual idea or take or story is. I just find the idea of working quietly and patiently away to be MUCH more empowering than the concept of being weirdly and arbitrarily blocked! there’s nothing wrong with writing being slow and hard sometimes!

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a banger as usual. i also hate the concept of the “tortured writer” - i just finished a book on writing memoir claiming that all “great writers” view writing as agonizingly painful, torturous, even. it’s a specific type of self-imposed martyrdom that irritates me like nothing else. why can’t writing be seen as primarily joyful? and when its not… give yourself permission to, as you say, shut the fuck up lmao

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Ooo I love this! To add to that, why do people think that joyful writing can’t be deep? Why must deep writing always come from pain?

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The concept of “writers block” was useful to me back in high school and college because it was the culprit to blame for procrastinating on my assigned essays. Now, with regular writing, I’ve learned that the block doesn’t exist at all. To write well you have to write something, anything, even if it’s bad, and edit it later. Writers block sounds like perfectionism at work.

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Hmm… maybe my real resistance is to editing 😭 editor’s block?

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this called me the fuck out. thank you for writing this. i’m a singer/songwriter & lately have been struggling to create music that authentically aligns with who i am due to this prolonged thought process that has grown over time of making my lyrics ‘more accessible.’ i’ve blamed my dwindling passion towards music on ‘writers block’ rather than my fear catered towards our capitalistic, audio/visual society where art isn’t the forefront of our focus rather than the image behind the creation. this isn’t strictly a bad thing, as visual & audio components of art can coincide beautifully, but when we subject ourselves into fitting into a strict boundaries through image, it can take away from the creative process of writing. authenticity is important, & self discovery through art is so beautiful. i enjoyed this writing so much, thank you for sharing your thoughts & providing a new perspective for me & anyone else who resonates!

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I think a lot of writer’s block comes from status anxiety. Will the resulting writing be “good”? (Will I be “good”?) When people write something they actually want to write, without worrying about how the end result will position them within the literary pantheon, the writing usually comes out more easily and ultimately gets more effective. Most good books are good stories before they’re beautiful sentence-level works of art. I myself write non-fiction and I find the best cure for writer’s block is being paid on delivery.

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I’m obsessed with your mind. I’m now going to think of writer’s block as a dramatic protest that I, the writer, unnecessarily place on myself whenever I feel like I’m not inspired enough (a weekly occurrence lol). But like words, inspiration is always there. Sometimes a product is simply a product that needs to exist and maybe evolve over time 💭✨

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THANK YOU! Writer's block is such a bullshit, self-indulgent construct. When you're stuck, two words will unstick you: what if. You're making it up. It just needs to be truthful and consistent to your story.

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this bangs

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I relate so much to consuming more when creating does not feel easy. I think it’s so important to have those phases as well because it seems like a gestation period for when the writing does flow more smoothly, and that phase inevitably arrives.

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God this was a painful read. have felt lately both self-centered and self-loathing (which are kindred) about “my process” (which is another nauseating expression). To me, the block feels like that damn boulder—I can shout it up the hill (“writing for writing’s sake!” I yell) or it can crush me with thoughts like “writing is a useless act, it registers no one to vote, why would i write, it’s so stupid, im too pathetic to write anything good.” In that tortured, self-pitying, act-negating mindset, it’s impossible to write. So I’ve absolutely never subscribed to the tortured writer thing.

I disagree that many writers create tortured conditions for themselves, although Im curious to hear more about that point, and why you think so! There are writers who are tortured (virg woolf, hemingway, you dont have throw a rock very far), who i wouldnt dare accuse of being complicit in their own misery, but I also do NOT think their tortured minds are the cause of their great work, probably the biggest obstacle. But i dont fucking know, maybe writing while influenced by manic energy can be pretty fucking good.

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But yeah, great post as per usual. Just took it personal as hell given im in a tortured, megalomaniacal phase rn. Lemme tap outta that

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Yes! And this term “writers block” is a reason why people delve into AI programs. Which is so unfortunate to me. I wish people would just be okay with writing a lot of shitty sentences, abandoning ideas entirely, or filling in gaps later (or maybe never). Instead, some people feel like they are entitled to having a computer turned their half baked thoughts into something “more complete”. It just discourages people from experiencing the world for themselves or having actual conversations with people.

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Honestly, difficulty writing seems to be writing’s base state. Are you really writing something good if you don’t pore over every aspect of it so stringently before deeming it complete?

Difficultly is often a marker of effort; when people complain that writing is too difficult to actually produce anything good, it reads like they don’t respect the craft enough to put in the effort. Wonderful piece you’ve written; thanks for sharing!

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It's so true - just get out of your own way already. Thank for the reality check!

I took my own take on Writers Block (and then with a ton of inspiration from other writers some who also say it's a myth) in my post this week. In addition to the standard idea of a “block” you address, I also take the angle that sometimes “block” means the karate chop you have to do to protect your time/space in order to write. And “block” can also mean the block of clay you have to create (the crappy draft) in order to start actually sculpting (editing) something worthwhile. Hope this helps someone as well and adds to the convo! https://sleepyhollowink.substack.com/p/writers-blockof-clay

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This is so interesting - I feel much the same as a visual artist! I accept that I will have 'fallow' periods where I am not making anything, and have come to accept these as an equal part of my practise. A friend described it to me as 'input / output' - in the times when I'm not physically creating the art, I'm still taking in material (mainly literature) and that is informing what I will eventually make. And of course, accepting that some of my ideas will just be bad and not come to anything, but these will also inform future projects.

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Really agree. Also, at the cost of sounding condescending, I have to ask: if the writing is not pleasant, why are we writing? With creative work, the chances of getting money or fame or even just recognition are one in a million. The only certain reward is to enjoy the work. So if you’re not enjoying the work… why do you do it?

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so well put. i haven't written anything "good" in over a month. i needed this!!

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