Considering Writer’s Block

At times, a person’s opinion about a topic changes.That happened to me earlier this week when I sat down to compose a post about writer’s block for the group blog, The Author Chronicles. I participate in the blog with four other aspiring writers from Jonathan Maberry‘s Advanced Writing Workshop, and yesterday was my turn to post.

When I decided to write about writer’s block, I intended to say that I don’t view writer’s block as much of a problem. Whenever I have trouble proceeding with a current project, I go on to writing something else for a while before returning to the original project. Although I might make brief detours, I soon get back to the original project. I didn’t believe I’d ever actually been blocked from writing.

I tend to be a stickler for detail, as my critique partners can tell you. So, before I started writing the post, I wanted to make sure that I accurately understood the term writer’s block. I checked wikipeida for a definition and brief explanation. That was an eye-opener! To my surprise, I discovered that I myself have experienced the severe form.

I had considered the months when I could not write after my father’s death as a part of my grieving process, not as a case of writer’s block. In truth, such an inability to write is also considered an extreme form of writer’s block, which can be caused by the ending of a relationship as well as by illness, depression, financial difficulties, and other life-changing events.

That realization had me feeling kind of sheepish. I am now a believer in writer’s block and admit that I could have learned something by attending some of those workshops about the topic (the ones I’ve constantly avoided). And I’m really, really glad I didn’t publish the post I’d originally envisioned!

Check out The Author Chronicles for the specifics of how I’ve detoured the roadblocks thrown up by the temporary forms of writer’s block. Please add comments about your own experience.


About J. Thomas Ross

Since retiring from a career as a high school English and history teacher, I've been pursuing a career as a writer. My main interest is in writing novels, but I've also written short stories and poetry and done a little editing on the side. I am currently working on a Young Adult novel. One of my poems - "Winter" - won an award at the 2010 Philadelphia Writers Conference, and you can find my fantasy short story "A Rock Is a Rock Is a Rock ... Or Is It?" in the anthology Tales of Fortannis: A Bard's Eye View, which is available in print and Kindle format from Amazon and as an e-book from Double Dragon Press.
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One Response to Considering Writer’s Block

  1. Lani Young says:

    Im another writer who likes to work on several different projects at the same time. I find this helps with ‘writers block’ because when I get stuck or sick of one book – i put it down and turn to another. Last year I was working on a narrative non-fiction book about a natural disaster that had recently killed 189 people in our country. I was writing on commission to a strict deadline because my patron wanted the book complete and ready to launch to on the one year anniversary of the tsunami. It was emotionally draining and physcially exhausting work. What helped me to keep moving forward writing wise was that i was also working on my YA urban fantasy romance book. Several times during the day when the sadness and death became too much to write about, i would work on the ‘fluffy’ book, what i endearingly call “my trash book”.
    I read many experts who tell us not to write more than one book at a time and i can see how starting ten different things ( and never finishing them!) could be a problem. However, i believe in having 2 or 3 different projects going at once. It guarantees i never get bored!

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