Writers are synonymous with torture. Every time you see one depicted in the media, you see them struggling with inner demons, battling writer’s block, and suffering … oh the suffering! I partly blame the media (and other writers) for glamorizing the notion that writing is torture, and that writer’s block is real.
Don’t get me wrong, writing is hard. It isn’t glamorous, very few people on the planet actually appreciate the true effort required to produce publish-quality writing, and even then it’s a pain.
However, that doesn’t mean that I think writer’s block is real. When a writer sits down to their computer, their iPad, or even their pen and paper, they go through all sorts of emotions. They struggle against the fear of the blank page, they must bite back the self-doubt, they must convince themselves of all sorts of things and endure an emotional roller coaster before they even write the first word. Once they actually produce text, then comes the endless rounds of editing and revising and rewriting.
I’ve finally come to the conclusion that saying that I haven’t written a word for six weeks (this is true) is due to “writer’s block” is basically bull. What it means is that I’ve decided to listen to the voice inside my head that says my writing is crap, I’ve given up on the idea of writing for storytelling’s sake, and I’ve decided that I’m going to blow my cognitive surplus on other endeavors instead of writing.
Calling it “writer’s block” is just a fancy way of saying denial. I didn’t suddenly lose my ability to write. I wasn’t blocked by some unknown force. I chose not to write, and then blamed it on writer’s block.
Whether I write something that will win me a prize or whether I write pure crap, I still chose to write. The more I chose to write the easier it becomes to write and the more momentum I have and, more importantly, the more my brain thinks in terms of beautiful phrases rather than pictures, requiring less mental gymnastics to convert the movies in my head into words.
So, as proof that writer’s block is pure hokum, I am going to do an experiment that I am calling the Forced March. I will force myself to write at least 500 words per day for the next 7 days, regardless of the quality of those words or what I plan on doing with the output. I am so convinced that writer’s block is fiction that I will blog my results of each day’s exercise and I predict that before the end of the forced march, I will no longer be writing in scratch pads but will be dumping large chunks of chapters directly into my novel.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the first post of my forced march and remember, just like “there is no spoon” in the Matrix, “there is no block” in a writer’s head. Choose to write, and you will. Choose not to, and admit it instead of blaming writer’s block.