Monday, January 23, 2017


I have no experience of writer’s block. However I have studied the phenomenon over the years in some of my students – although it seems to me it is not as common as people seem to imagine. I am inclined to believe that it is related to some kind of fear – fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the truth – for example. Fear of writer’s block, maybe.

One good exercise it to stop trying to write on, and to write instead a quick list of things that frighten you – fire, flood, spiders, heights etc. And maybe write a few paragraphs under the heading ‘Fear’. In my book
Dear Writer Revisited
there is a chapter on facing the fear and overcoming writer’s block. And another of my books on writing  
Writing the Story of Your Life
grew out of a project I gave myself to help a friend to overcome her inability to recall events in her early life. She had been asked by her therapist to write down these things, and she had no idea what to do – a rather huge writer’s block, that one. The whole book is in fact a series of twenty-eight exercises in how to deal with writer’s block (although I don’t think I used the term in that book.)

The thing is really that you need to separate yourself from the thing you are writing, and concentrate on the business of the fear, meet the fear itself. Some people try to push forward by just keeping writing, but I have observed that this does not seem to work. So I suppose you treat the condition (fear) by taking it separately seriously, and return to the writing task in due course. I have seen this treatment, this process work for writers.

1 comment:

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