Thursday, January 19, 2012

Writer's Block As It Is

When I don't have a clue of what to write for the week (like today, for example) I always start reading through the blogs I'm following. I can usually find my inspiration there, or by browsing through the posts on Google+. Today, everyone seems to be talking about writer's block and since I know of a really cool quote, I thought it would be the perfect post for me, as well.

Everyone has their own ideas about writers block, whether they write or not. Oh, of course it's real. Oh, of course it isn't. If you want to write, just do it. If you're blocked, take some time away to recenter yourself. I agree with each and everyone of these statements, plus most of the other's I've read about writer's block. What does that say about me? Just that I understand a bit about human psyche.

In my view, writer's block is real because we make it real - or not, as the case may be. Our own minds are extremely powerful, particularly when it comes to what we can and cannot do (or what we tell ourselves). Ever since I learned about cognitive psychology, I've been intrigued by the power of the mind, and have managed to use it to break a few habits, to restructure some of my more destructive thoughts, and to convince myself something could be done even if I had originally thought it impossible. Our minds are incredibly powerful - how else could we come up with all these stories?

The trouble is when we can't come up with those stories. We call it writer's block because we feel like our natural creativity is somehow blocked. This doesn't mean we can't write, though many authors do describe feelings of intense anxiety when they sit down to write during a bout of writer's block. But that isn't about writing, I don't think. I think it's more about the fear of the content we're trying to create. Which brings me to my quote.

"The ironic thing about writer's block is that you're writing all the time, it's just that you think everything sucks." John Rzeznik, vocalist and guitarist, Goo Goo Dolls.

Rzeznik said this after the huge success the band received after producing 'Iris.' He had apparently been going through years of writer's block before this song finally came to him, breaking his cycle and giving him the confidence to get back into, what he considered, good writing.

I love this quote. This quote to me is what writer's block is. It's not a lack of content, but a lack of what we consider 'good' content. We know we're capable of it, so where is it?

Most of us will not be able to get the kind of mass recognition Goo Goo Dolls did with their song. Something like that is powerful enough to knock you out of your mental rut and feel value in your skills again. Most of us will have to discover that value ourselves, either by taking that break or pushing through the hard times to get to something we consider worth while.

I run with the crap. I write until I've written it all out, then go through and pick it apart, keeping whatever gems I might find and tossing the rest. I know, I know. Never throw out your work. But then again, think of how therapeutic that is. Writing all the crap out, then just deleting it away.

Ahhh. Zen.

Well, maybe not Zen, but hopefully a few more hundred words of the actual piece we're working on. Words that can stay.

Your thoughts on writers block? Any other cool quotes you've come across? Please, share. I love quotes. :)


  1. Hello! I'm following you from the blog hop!

    When I have writer's block, I find that setting my story aside and starting on something new really helps. It frees you from the one story line, and then when you go back to it, it's fresher in your mind. You should try it. :)

  2. Hi, Vicki, and thanks. :)

    Unfortunately, that tactic doesn't work for me. I tend to get completely caught up in the new and push aside the old. Unless it's part of a series and I can stick to the characters and their story lines, changing projects is dangerous for me. Reading helps though, I find. Probably for the same reasons writing a different project works for you - it frees me from the story line but doesn't require the dedication writing something would.


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