The muse stops.
The screen freezes.
The block appears. And you’re stuck.
It’s so common nowadays to claim a writer’s block. Professionals do it all the time. Even amateurs often find it hard to go further than the first few scrawny lines they managed on their big novel.
I’ve felt the same so many times. However, I don’t think it’s valid to name it writer’s block. No one’s blocked in the literal sense. Writing is a habit. It’s practice.
Even art isn’t art without practice.
The problem is, we often define writing as a creative job. People stereotype writers as wearing big round glasses, as sleep-deprived, coffee-fueled, alcohol addicts. I don’t think so. Sure, we’ve seen a lot of great writers who match the description as much as twins look alike. Nevertheless, writers are different with varied perspectives and tastes. Not every writer writes only when they’ve gulped a pot of coffee. Not every writer needs alcohol to keep them typing.
Some writers just sit at the computer and write.
The reason is that they approach writing as a part of their life. It’s not an impulsive muse that needs to hit them at the right time at the right spot. It’s, instead, a ritual they go through because they choose to commit to it.
Writing in its pure sense is communication between the writer and the reader. It should be simple and straightforward if the reader is to glean anything at all. There’s no place for showing off there. Sure, poetry and fiction need a creative streak. And, yes, readers often enjoy an occasional wordplay or the clever turn of phrase. But all that comes from editing, and not the writing itself. For the first draft of anything is often us telling the story to ourselves.
When we approach our everyday writing like it’s verbal diarrhoea—or logorrhoea, in technical terms—there’s no way we’d get blocked. Whether we’re a professional non-fiction writer, an amateur, or a novel novelist, at the end of the day, we’re just a writer. It’s our job.
And when we have a job to do, we can’t afford to slack. No other job gets the block.
Hospitality is a huge industry. Thousands of staff work day in and out throughout the calendar to ensure the rest of us are comfortable. I’ve never seen housekeeping personnel claiming they’re blocked. They get tired and even bored at their job. But that doesn’t mean they can’t, and don’t, finish their work.
Writers get tired, too. It isn’t easy to put words to thoughts on a daily basis and do it well, too. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it. It only means that we’re too bored or lazy to keep going. We just need to take a break and carry on.
Calling it writer’s block is just a lame excuse for not sucking it up.