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Writer’s Block

I was in Iceland last April at The Iceland Writer’s Retreat and a common topic of discussion among the participants was ‘writer’s block.’ I had to keep my mouth shut, (an extremely taxing ordeal for me, not something I can usually master), because well, I don’t get writer’s block.

That’s not to say that everything I write is wonderful and worth keeping, it’s not, and I’m quite certain there would be some who would argue that none of what I write is any good, (and there are those who love it) but that’s the beauty of writing, it is so subjective and individual. Certainly there are things like grammar, and formatting and punctuation, spelling and tense, and all manner of things that writing is judged by, but writing is art and art is subjective, (some people really do like those paintings done on black velvet) which brings me back to writer’s block…

I have to believe writer’s block comes from indecision and insecurity. If a writer can’t decide what to write, or is too afraid to write (what if it’s not good?) well isn’t that writer’s block? But what if a writer were to decide, make the choice to write anything, just anything without worrying whether it’s good or not? Wouldn’t the block disappear if there weren’t any expectation put on the writing? I have to think that writers who experience a block are worried about their writing. “Writer” implies that the person writes, that putting words together to form a story is what they do, so why is there such a thing as ‘writer’s block?’ Do bakers have baker’s block? Lawyers, lawyer’s block? Writing is the only profession, avocation, hobby, whatever it is to the person doing it, where we hear of a ‘block.’

I think any block that stands in a writer’s way can be removed by the simple act of writing. Good, bad or indifferent, just write, whether it is the project you are working on, or a grocery list, write, just write and the block will disappear.

You can always go back later and delete, or embellish, correct and define, polish the rough edges, fix what needs to be fixed, but if you’re too afraid of that blank page, nothing will be written, but with every word you write, the block will come down brick by brick, word by word.

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