The truth about writer's block

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Even knowing the problem and the solution. Hell, NaNoWriMo is great for this kind of thing if you let yourself let go. It’s still bloody difficult if you can’t get away from the things that keep you stressed. Still. I’ll let a TED talk do the rest of the speaking for me.


Must be nice to worry about feeling that way.


I envy what you did there.


Finally, the fourth, angry and disappointed group tended to look for external motivation; they were driven by the need for attention and extrinsic reward. They were, Barrios and Singer found, more narcissistic—and that narcissism shaped their work as writers. They didn’t want to share their mental imagery, preferring that it stay private.

Aren’t those contradictory? How do narcissistic writers expect to get rewarded if they don’t share?

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Mostly 1, some 3 (on bad days).

I think it’s talking about blocked narcissistic writers, not all narcissistic writers.
i.e., that contradiction is seen as the source of their block, for subgroup 4 of all blocked writers?

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Respectfully, this overlooks writer’s block that happens for other reasons, such as medical causes. There are quite a number of conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, where mental fog can make it difficult to generate ideas or write coherently. Excessive life stress can lead to overwhelm, and make juggling additional things, such as writing, difficult. Chronic pain can mess with your ability to mentally focus and write well. Lack of sleep can interfere with being able to think logically, process thoughts or come up with new ideas.

Self esteem, fear of judgement and unhappiness can all be causes of writer’s block, but they’re not the only possible cause.


'Round these parts, we call 'em “children”.


many intelligent people wear fatigues.


I’m finding that – at the moment, at least – my biggest cause of writer’s block is that I’m writing about a subject that makes me unhappy.

I’m writing a book that’s a retrospective of my years working various temp jobs in the tech sector. I’m hoping, ultimately, that it’ll be funny, an amusing look at this absurd series of circumstances I’ve found myself in.

But in practice, I’m finding that, at least in some cases, I haven’t hit the “ready to look back at this and laugh” stage. A lot of the bullshit I’ve gone through still pisses me off.

I’m currently writing a section on the time it took me six months to convince DES that I was eligible for unemployment, after working for a company that claimed I was an independent contractor even though I was an employee.

Tonight, I went through a series of old E-Mails where I tried to explain the same thing over and over to DES reps, who kept giving me boilerplate and bad advice. I think there’s a lot of potential humor here, but reading those E-Mails is just making me angry and stressed-out all over again. (Even though I know how the story ends, and that I eventually did get that unemployment money.)

So I’m hoping I can just power through it, finish, and set it aside for awhile before coming back and doing another draft. And hope that in the end, it’ll all come across as sardonic observations about the foibles of our modern workplace, instead of as some middle-class white guy whining for a couple of hundred pages about how much his white-collar jobs suck.

(Ah, there’s the concern about perception. But that’s for later – for now I’m just stymied by how surprisingly unpleasant it’s proven to relive some of this stuff.)

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i empathize with what you’re feeling. writing, making, can be a grind. it almost always depresses me, but i love doing it. go figure.

have you considered maybe what you’re creating isn’t meant to be sardonic? maybe that’s the inner editor, and the comparison with what’s expected.

maybe, instead, you’ve got your own thing and your own style going. wait till your first draft is done, then approach it with curiosity to see what you’ve got.


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