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Writer's Block

What is writer's block?



What exactly is writer's block? We've all suffered from it at some point in our lives, being stuck, trying to write something but not succeeding. In fact, I was having writer's block up until I decided to write about it. Call me nerdy (which I am), but I was reading Jacqueline Woodson's author site and stumbled across the FAQ page where she was asked if she ever got writer's block. Her answer was this: Nope. There’s no such thing. I think it’s just your mind telling you that the thing you’re writing isn’t the thing you really want to be writing. If this happens to me, I start writing something else. I’m usually working on more than one book at a time. When the ideas stop coming for one, I move on to another one.


So Jacqueline Woodson believes that it's just your brain saying that it's bored and unsatisfied with the thing you're writing. So if you're stuck, one idea would be to delete it all and start over. Remember, writing takes practice. Of course, other people have other ideas.


For example, one of the writers on medium.com, Leigh Fisher, pointed out that yes, there always are those days when even a professional writer can't write, and you shouldn't push it because everyone needs rest. She also referenced Mike Rose's Writer's Block: The Cognitive Dimension, which was a whole book about writer's block! In it, Rose even conducted a study and found that the three main things that slowed writers down were failing to follow rules, too-early editing, and negative self-evaluation. So here's Fisher's main message: even if you just can't put the words on paper, give yourself a break. You need it. It happens.


When I searched for videos of this, you'd be surprised just how many TED Talk videos popped up. There are three videos that I'm referencing, and the first one is a talk with Dr. Santosh Bakaya. She says that writer's blocks are just myths, "monsters of negativity" and that the only cure is becoming passionate, because when she was passionate about writing when she was young and at her current age, she never suffered from anything of the sort. And sometimes, you don't have the luxury of a writer's block. You don't have time. You need to write, and having confidence will definitely get you there.


The second video is another TED Talk by Kandarp Mehta on how to overcome creative blocks. Starting off, Mr. Mehta talked about Roald Dahl, and how extremely disciplined he was, writing every day. He would write no matter what. Even if he didn't have an idea, if he wasn't inspired, he would just write, no matter what. Because of this, he rarely had a writer's block AKA a creative block. After looking at many different tips as to how to get through writer's blocks, he chose three to share. First, even if you run out of ideas, show up. Keep doing it. Tip number two is to take a break. That doesn't mean you should give up, but take a break. And last but not least, empathize with someone. See their perspective and get inspired. And here's a strategy that will help you be creative: finish your work before the deadline. You're obviously wondering why in the world that would help, as was I when I was watching the video. According to Kandarp Mehta, when there is a seemingly impossible task at hand, your human ingenuity really comes to the rescue. And it brings creativity.


The third video was short, a poem about writer's block by Asha Christensen, another kid. The link to the video will be posted at the end along with all of the others.


So what is writer's block? Most people claim it's a myth, some a state of mind, and others focus more on what to do about it. What do you think?


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