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Nov 29 / King Kaufman

Quote of the Day: Do you believe in writer’s block?

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.

Terry Pratchett

We Californians get blamed for everything.

The fantasy writer’s pithy quote reminds me of an earthier one from friend of this blog Joe Posnanski:

I’ve always said that I don’t believe in writer’s block, because my father worked in a factory most of his life and I don’t think he ever had “factory block.”

  • Donny Wood

    I firmly believe in writer’s block. When you write all day, and some pint there is nothing more to give. You need to rejuvenate yourself by doing something else. Don’t believe me? Write for 10 hours a day five days a week!

    and P.S. I guarantee Joe Posnanski’s father suffered from factory block. At some point, we all hate our jobs and need a break.

    • Zachary D. Rymer

      With Donny on this one. I don’t know where writing comes from, but the source is not infinite. You’re bound to hit a wall if you write long enough. It’s just like running. If you run for long enough, you’re bound to collapse.

      • Anonymous

        You’re talking about fatigue. Writer’s block isn’t fatigue. It’s a paralysis, an inability to produce anything new. It’s even been described as a psychological condition

        As you describe it here, writer’s block can be cured with a little rest, taking a break. But there are cases of writers having writer’s block for years, or even for the rest of their lives.

        Joe’s point about “factory block” is that his father always showed up and always worked. He didn’t have the luxury of saying, “I can’t do it today.” So that’s the approach Joe takes to his writing. I’m not qualified to say whether writer’s block is an actual psychological condition that can overcome resistance like Joe’s.

  • Carl

    I think “writer’s block” is a simple matter of stepping away and taking a walk, refreshing your mind and coming right back to your work, rather than something that should prevent you from actually completing a project.

    • Anonymous

      See my reply to the above comments.

      I suspect that what it is is a paralyzing lack of confidence. Whether that’s something a person can just buck him or herself up from, I don’t know. It can probably arise from other psychological conditions (or whatever the proper term is), such as depression.

  • Joshua Edwards

    To my knowledge, writing has never appeared on page in perfect form. And nobody writes pulitzer prose all day, every day.

    If writing isn’t a process, neither is sculpting.

    And like sculpting, it’s ok to start with a block. It’s what we’ve got 99% of the time: a chunk of marbleized, textual frustration. Sculpting is what happens the other 1%.

    Anyone willing to work under those conditions knows writer’s block, and can proudly call themselves a writer.

  • Michael Schottey

    To my knowledge, I’ve never had writer’s block. I’ve had acute cases of laziness or Law and Order marathons…but never a complete block. When push comes to shove, put stuff on the paper and worry about how good it is afterward.

    I’ve always kind of viewed “block” as another name for either laziness or perfectionism.