On Writers and Writer’s Block

by kholinar

I’ll just put this out there. I consider myself to be a writer. Even more than this, I consider most of those I follow to be writers. You might ask my criteria. It’s simple. If you write, you’re a writer. This makes things simple, and, as writers, we can then begin to use our modifiers for more clarity. You might be a good writer, a bad writer, a professional writer (which would suggest occupation {some would associate money with this, but let’s be honest, money has little to do with writing}), or even a lapsed writer.

Writer’s block, I think, is mostly something that affects our judgement, not our creativity (this is not a new idea, I just want to show my allegiance). We say we can’t think of anything to write, but we often mean that we can’t think of anything good. We say that we haven’t written anything, but we usually mean that everything we start to write is bad. So my solution to break writer’s block is simple, I take away the need for what I write to have any virtue. I work on something that I do not take seriously (this isn’t hard for me because I take very few things seriously).

A good example of this comes from when I used to play at songwriting. I had a country song that I held in reserve to work on when writer’s block pounced. Since I had no real artistic hopes for the project, work would go easily and I could usually switch back to my regular project in a short time. Because beginning to work without self-editing is the most effective cure for writer’s block in most cases.

Here’s an example that I wrote recently working through a twinge of block:

Gnus will chew
this much is true
they’ll chew
your sadness
chew your shoes.
Bereft of any
other task
they’ll gladly
fix a stew.

You’ll say, Billy, that doesn’t look that much different from your normal ridiculous poetry. This is true. But, for me, it helps.