77. Damn You, Writer’s Block

You see guys, that phenomenon which we call writer’s block is really more like a police road block than anything else: they are a major annoyance, they appear where you least expect them, and they usually separate the qualified from the unqualified.

(bribery, however, is another story altogether)

There has been a number of books and articles on the craft of writing that I had been reading recently, and most of them seem to despise the very notion of such a thing as writer’s block. Utter horseshit, most of them calls it. Accountants don’t have accountant’s block. Lawyers don’t have lawyer’s block. Why should you have writer’s block?

I guess I can empathize with that. I wouldn’t call writer’s block utter horseshit, but I do think that it is made out to be bigger of a deal than it really is. I mean, I’m sure there are days that accountants and lawyers wake up and they don’t feel like doing that audit or reviewing that case; but they get up and slug it out anyway, because they don’t get paid if they don’t.

Everyone in their respective professions have their fair share of obstacles to overcome. Frustrating as it is, I think I prefer dealing with writer’s block, compared to dealing with whiny teenagers with an overinflated sense of entitlement.

But hey, since we’re on the topic of writer’s block, allow me to share some thoughts on overcoming writer’s block.

Most people would advise the writer to go and do something else – play a game. Take a walk. Call mom. Just take your mind off the writing, and once you come back to it with fresh eyes and a fresh mind, the ideas will definitely start flowing again! To that I say: yeah, if that were true, my character wouldn’t have been stuck in a police interrogation room since January this year.

Back to the illustration of the police road block. You see, you as the writer have a destination in mind, which is the completion of your work – now this road block stands in your way. Think through all the movies that you’ve seen: has any hero ever gotten through such a road block by going for a while, then coming back hoping that it’ll be gone?

Hell no. You pull a Vin Diesel/Bruce Willis and plow through that damn roadblock, and God help whoever stands between you and your destination. You have a car, and you’re not afraid to use it, dammit!

And this is my friendly advice to all you writers out there facing writer’s block: smash through it like the Joker’s school bus through the bank wall at the beginning of The Dark Knight. Break that damn thing into smithereens, and do it so hard that every other writer’s block within the area will just kindly step out of the way for you.

How, you ask? Simple, I say.

With words.

Throw word after word at that obstacle that stands between you and the completion of your story. Big words, small words, made-up words – it doesn’t matter. Keep at it, keep at it, keep at it. Eventually, either the block will break, or you would have made for yourself a hill of words tall enough for you to just climb over it.

Keep at it.

Keep at it.

Keep at it.

And when you’ve kept at it for so long that the writer’s block simply gave up before you did – you’ll know that you have just qualified yourself as a writer. Because like the Vin Diesel/Bruce Willis of writing, you have just shown how desperate you are to reach your destination.

And before you even know it, every other writer’s block in town would have ran for cover, clearing the path for you. This doesn’t guarantee, of course, that you won’t meet another writer’s block; but when you do, you’ll know just what to do.

That writer’s block won’t know what hit it.

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