Writing Blocks

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“I love writing but hate starting. The page is awfully white and it says, “You may have fooled some of the people some of the time but those days are over, giftless. I’m not your agent and I’m not your mommy. I’m a white piece of paper, you wanna dance with me?” And I really, really don’t.”
Aaron Sorkin

A writer’s block is defined as an inability to write or produce new work.  Writer’s block is a well-known problem that has been witnessed over the centuries, with varying levels of intensity and time durations.  At some point, writers will experience the “joy” of staring at a blank piece of paper.  The good news is that others have experienced this phenomenon.   Ernest Hemingway said, “I rewrote the ending of ‘Farewell to Arms’ 39 times before I was satisfied.”  David McCullough said, “There’s an awful temptation to just keep on researching.  There comes a point where you just have to stop, and start writing.”

Writing blocks, while they may be painful, challenge us to advance and progress.  The career of a professional writer is not for the fainthearted.  It is demanding, capricious, disappointing and all-consuming.  The story, the idea, the discussion so clearly understood within our minds, must find a way to the outside world.  Sometimes words fail to adequately convey all that we would like to share.

Barbara Kingsolver’s solution is to “close the door.  Write with no one looking over your shoulder.  Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say.  It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.” James Thurber didn’t mince words, “Don’t get it right, just get it written.”

“Get it down. Take chances.  It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

William Faulkner