Hello Blogging Family! I’m very sorry I’ve been absent for so much of the summer. I wrote an essay this afternoon to clear my head and want to share it with you all.
“Writer’s block.” There is no definition, really. It’s just what you say when someone – professor, editor, great aunt – asks “Have you written anything recently?”
You could be honest and say “No.”
Or you could puff out your chest, ruffle your hair in the mirror like the next Ernest Hemmingway.
“Writer’s block,” you could say. “I’ve got writer’s block.”
This is very different from just saying no.
First of all, it establishes you are a writer. Writers use big words. Writers write important thoughts. Whoever is interrogating you – and they’re most likely a superior or you wouldn’t be having this conversation – they’d better listen to you, the writer.
Second, “block” has a lovely fatalistic ring. A block isn’t something you can control: it just is. If I, the writer, find myself standing at the bottom of Mt. Kilimanjaro the night before my magazine article goes to print, should my editor really blame me? I don’t have the kind of faith that moves mountains.
Finally, “writer’s block” is one of those phrases you can pull out and nobody gets hurt. I can (theoretically) miss a deadline without pontifications on time management. The wounded party (may) survive the incident without the sense of personal betrayal that comes from a good ol’ missed deadline.
As for writer’s block itself, it is a very real and debilitating condition that impacts hundreds of writers daily. If you or someone you love is at risk, take a mental break. Don’t wait until it’s too late!