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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fueling the Block

I believe I am regularly visited by the dreaded writer's block. But, for me, it rarely looks like what a block might. Do I have writer's block because it can be a part of the natural creative process--a nonlinear path to creativity? Yes, I believe so. But I think I try to handle writer's block creatively.
For me, I often question if I have a block or if it is writer's block masquerading as procrastination (or sheer laziness has crossed my mind)? Sure, I could get up and write each morning before my children are up...but maybe I'll just read more of this book into the wee hours and sleep through that productive morning quiet. Or I'll eat up my creative writing time bu making a list...or two. Over the years, I have convinced myself that my writer's block is essentially productive. After all, on a regular basis, utilizing the "writing" techniques that I've mastered, I've straightened my desk, organized and re-organized my files, and run all sorts of virtual clean ups on my computer. My favorite technique at putting off a writing project is looking for the one book I can't live without at that moment. If I didn't seem so desperate, I think my husband would find a comfortable corner and just watch me run about, looking for where I may have squirreled this "essential" book of the moment.
But it serves my purpose, most of the time. Instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, my mind is whirring, trying to help me figure out a way to approach the subject I want to write about.
While my writer's block is real, it fortunately looks more like I'm being productive and not blocked.
How about you? Do you have writer's block and what do you do about it?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and editor in North Carolina. She is the Wilmington-area representative for the NC Writers' Network.


  1. Anonymous7:48 AM

    I think that "writers block" is one of those phrases like "true love" that can actually mean almost anything. I like your perspective--for me, too, getting things done is not a 'block' but an aid to actual long as procrastination doesn't take over. But that's not a 'block' as much as a choice...

  2. Beverly Rearick11:31 AM

    Currently going through this. Now that school is out, I find myself sleeping through my writing time since I don't have to be up for a while afterwards for work. I'm frustrated with myself because I know that it is due to starting a writing project. Even thinking about changing my writing time to evening, but worried it will continue. Any suggestions???

  3. Beverly,
    I know where you are coming from. First, take a little time for your body to adjust to the change of no longer having school. Then, move forward, but don't pressure yourself. If you are goal-oriented, make yourself a goal, but bring it down to something manageable.
    I don't know if you have an internal or external forces pressuring your writing, but whichever it is, take some time to figure out how to start small before you jump in too quickly and resent what you've written, resent your writing or walk away completely.
    Hope that helps!


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