Published: Jun 14, 2016 12:00:00 PM

IMG_20160612_111700.jpgLet's run an exercise.

If you're a functioning adult with a heartbeat (and if you're a functioning kid with a heartbeat, congratulations for getting this far), you can glance to the top of this page and notice a statement regarding writer's block. The suggestion "let's run an exercise" follows.

Writer's block because the writing-action has nothing to do with writing. Statistically speaking, writing is only 49% writing, at most. Nobody in the world is technically a "writer," by the strictest definition.

Writer's block is a myth because the struggle is part of the writing. You can't put gas in your tank and call yourself an auto-mechanic, and you can't complain about having trouble writing if you're a writer.

Dealing With Writer's Block Is An Attribute Of Your Writing Skill

It's all about what you want to expect to accomplish while writing. Do you sit down with the expectation to write a certain number of pages? Great! I've had days like that, pounding out 10-20 pages.

Then there are days when I can't write as much. My first reaction is not: "do I have writer's block now?"

No. Writer's block is hypochondria. Writer's block is only common parliance because the tragic writer whimpering at the altar of his craft, or even injecting himself into his story as a weak surrogate character, is as common a theme as their dissatisfaction with their father.

If you consider yourself a writer, and you encounter textbook-definiton writer's block, you need to go back to the sandbox. You're a runner who refuses to hydrate. You're a bike on flat tires. An ability to push through a "block" is so fundamental to the craft that if you're encountering it, priority number 1 is now figuring out how you're going to overcome.

You need to work out your brainstorming exercises. You need to work out your outlining methods. You need to start chewing gum, or wearing a different hat, I don't know, whatever it is though, it's going to not only make you a better writer, the thing you want to write isn't going to be good.

Writing is not putting words to a story. Writing is an understanding: understanding why you want to put these words into somebody else's head. Why do your ideas need to linger with theirs? Why is it so important? It is not just a thread of words. It's a three-dimensional volume. The action of planning is writing. The thinking is writing. Reading is writing.

To overcome perceived writer's block, one must always be writing. Do not narrow your understanding of the work to the typing-action, and there will no longer be a block.

-- Alex Crumb
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Tagged topics in this post: storytelling analysis, how to write

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