28 July, 2013

Writer's Block and its Mysterious Journey

*Naomi Karten writes that every writer hits writer’s block and one needs to unblock himself. Wikipedia describes writer's block “as a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.” Anything a writer writes is new work indeed which contradicts the definition itself.

Seth Godin thinks that writing isn’t the hard part, it’s the commitment. He also talks about how Writer’s block never existed before the 1940s and it became a hit with writers only when Writing became a respectable and lucrative profession. Seth asks amusingly, “No one ever gets talker's block. No one wakes up in the morning, discovers he has nothing to say and sits quietly, for days or weeks, until the muse hits, until the moment is right, until all the craziness in his life has died down. Why then, is writer's block endemic?”

Writer’s block is an excuse to get away from writing. It’s at best, the fear of writing anything crappy. It’s not the inability to write that is the problem, it’s the hard work, motivation and commitment to write that writers lack. Additionally, writers avoid exploring different methods of improving their writing from time to time.

Writing is not as easy as it appears to be. It’s not as if, a writer sits in a beautiful apartment with a beach side view staring at palm trees and ideas start striking like stars. Writing is about serious thinking. It’s about choosing from ideas, facts, stories, plots, characters accumulated over time. Gerald M Weinberg calls these nuggets as Fieldstones.  This means that any writer would have a ‘Work in Progress Inventory’  that may include several books in different stages of completion, article drafts, collection of quotes, bits and pieces of writing that amused the writer on several occasions and so forth. He may carry a pen and paper (tools) to collect his fieldstones all the time. Yeah, all the time! Note that the writer may not use all of these right away. He hopes to use them someday.

Aspiring writers all over the world are desperate to get an answer to the most dangerous question, “How do you overcome writer’s block”. Some of these writers expect a magical answer, “Oh! Writer’s block indeed exists and you need to do A, B and C to conquer it.” Getting stuck cannot be excused as Writer’s block. There’s one best way one can beat your mind from getting stuck – Start Writing!

It's ironical to write a blog post on Writer's Block while I have not written on this blog for 4 months now. Interestingly, I have been writing more than before, but at different places like on Moolya Blog, Testing magazines and TechWell too. Take a look if it interests you. 

Moolya Blog

Testing Circus


And many more articles in progress - I am collecting fieldstones.

*I have been reading Naomi Karten's article since 3 years and I love what she writes. I particularly like her articles on Human Behavior and its implications in organizational setups. Interestingly, I disagreed with her on this particular piece.

Happy Writing and Happy Reading!