There is No Such Thing as Writer’s Block

Yes, that’s correct. You heard right, bubba. There is not such thing as a writer not being able to write because he has the so called “writer’s block.” How do I know? Glad you asked. I’m a writer. Have been since high school, sixty-five years ago. In that time I’ve written for newspapers, magazines, radio and a few yet to be produced motion pictures. Yes, I’ve published books. Actually, I’ve written, sold, and had published 320 books and counting. All through legitimate publishers. One hundred and fifteen of these are novels.

There is no such thing as writer’s block.

Say you work for a newspaper as a reporter and you stare at your computer that morning and just can’t get the words to come. Writer’s block, you say. You tell your editor that you simply can’t write today because you have writer’s block. He’ll tell you that the next thing you write will be your application for unemployment. You’re fired.

Two Reasons People Say They Can’t Write

Nothing to Say
The biggest reason is you have nothing to impart to the panting public. You know that you have no message, not even the ability to tell a good story. No wonder you can’t write. You have nothing to say to anyone, so why should you be able to put it down on paper, or the screen.

Lack of Desire
The other reason wannabe writers say they get writer’s block is that they simply don’t have the desire, the want to, or the drive to write. Writing is hard work, almost everyone agrees about that. It takes a lot of desire to be a writer. If you don’t have that, and you start a novel, but simply can’t continue because you have writer’s block, you’d better take a long hard look at your desire level. Kinda low, right? You have writer’s block because you would much rather be bowling, or eating out at a great restaurant, or hitting the late night club circuit.

Most people who tell me that they get writer’s block are not real writers. They just want to be writers. They get hooked on the glamor of a book signing, the lure of the best seller, the prospect of optioning it to Hollywood. In other words, they fall in love with the fringe benefits of being a successful writer writer without understanding the blood, sweat, and saliva that you must expend to get that first, or next, book published.

So forget writer’s block. There is not such thing. How about surgeon’s block or airline pilot’s block. Sound ridiculous? So is writer’s block. You either don’t have anything to say, or you simply don’t have that intense, gnawing, probing, grinding desire to sit down at your computer and be a real writer.

Remember, there is no such thing as writer’s block.

Chet Cunningham

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About Tim Kane

Tim Kane is a young adult fiction writer.
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3 Responses to There is No Such Thing as Writer’s Block

  1. Great post and very true–thanks for sharing! I credit my journalism background for teaching me to work on my novel regardless of energy, or “inspiration” or whatnot. You’ve reminded me, though, that when I’m spinning my wheels on a scene, I shouldn’t call it being blocked, because it’s not writer’s block as you define it. I still have something to say, I still have the desire to say it and I’m putting in the time at the keyboard, so “blocked” isn’t the proper term. Would it be called stuck? Slightly off-track? Mired in the big messy middle of a scene?

  2. I agree. If you’re a writer, then writing is your job. That’s not to say you won’t have off days. Even mechanics and surgeon’s have off days. But you still get the job done. Even if you have to toss everything your wrote that day, you’re still doing the job.

    I was working on a new story this weekend, and had to restart it three times. I almost lost hope on the whole thing, wanting to be sidetracked into other endeavors. But then I was reminded of Chet’s advice. If writing was my job, then I had to muscle through. The problems have led to a better narrative, and I wouldn’t have gotten there if I’d just declared Writer’s Block and quit.

  3. It’s great when you can persevere past one of those stuck spots and realize the story’s so much better for all the angst and false starts. Writing as a job is an important point. I consider it the professional part of my day and try to organize my priorities around getting that writing time. And even when it goes poorly, it’s exercising the writing muscle. Perhaps we have to restart stories three times, like you did this weekend, to warm up and get ready for the race.

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