On Writer’s Block

There are two main beliefs people have about writer’s block: either it doesn’t exist, or it is hell.

Both of these cannot be true.

Last week I decided to take some time off from writing to refresh my mind after a long, disappointing dry spell. I’ve been caught up in the middle of too many deadlines and my stress levels were pushing my blood pressure up, apparently, although I call into question the validity of a student-run psychology experiment to comment on my biology. Finally, after going through what I’ve decided to call a quarter-life crisis, I gave in and took some time off.

For the first few days this was bliss. At least I think it was, I seem to have forgotten the experience after sleeping most of it away. Dreams do make for more enjoyment than waking life, some of the time. Nonetheless, after a few days, the void emptiness returned. I still couldn’t work. I couldn’t even think.

For that matter, I can barely write this, right here, right now. I’m sitting in a coffee-shop, my usual refuge from whatever hell-hounds reality has unleashed on my creativity, and I’ve got a headache, my coffee is cooling but I don’t want to finish it and there’s too many people talking too loudly. It’s all just a buzz of noisiness and unrest. I’ve tried reading, I’ve tried writing it out, I’ve tried sleeping it off. None of it seems to work.

That’s just my version of events, however. From the outside, I probably look pretty good. I think I’m more rested, a little more emotionally stable. I’ve accomplished a lot of work, even if it hasn’t been the writing I wanted to do. Which brings me to my question, is writer’s block a real psychological thing or is it simply a manner of thinking that the skeptics and the real hard working writers can avoid by sheer willpower?

I can’t help but draw a comparison to depression and mental illness. If you don’t got it, you don’t get it.

Maybe you don’t suffer from the agony of writer’s block, or maybe you do. Either way, if there’s one thing I’ve learned (and I’ve been admittedly trying hard not to learn anything this week) it’s that taking time off really is important.

It’s endlessly frustrating though, and deadlines don’t go away because you went away.

And that is all I have to say about that.





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