I always believe in my favorite soccer team. Even when they’ve done nothing but lose for three months, have an injury list about a mile long, and are facing the defending champions, I always think they’ll win when the game starts. God, however, I’m not so sure I believe in. At least not the God mentioned in the world’s first bestseller, the Bible. One thing I’m certain I don’t believe in, though, is writer’s block. God may or may not exist, but writer’s block definitely doesn’t.
“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.”
― Terry Pratchett
If it was really invented by people in California, I have no idea. But I’m sure it was, indeed, invented by people who were better at making excuses than they were at writing. Writer’s block is nothing but an excuse. Because of the misconception that writing isn’t hard work, those who don’t put in the effort need an excuse to why they’re not producing words.
Sure, sometimes your writing won’t flow. But blocked? Nah. More like stuck in a corner you’ve written yourself into. Delete. Maybe you’re distracted. Focus or go do whatever’s pulling at you more than writing is. If it just feels wrong (and in my experience, sometimes it does), then it’s entirely possible that you haven’t done your research, don’t know exactly what it is you’re trying to say or in which direction to take your story. That doesn’t mean you’re blocked. That just mean you haven’t done your job.
There’s always a reason why you think you’re blocked. Analyze why – is the scene going in the right direction? Are your characters behaving as they should? Is the dialogue unnatural or stilted? Find out what the following scene will be and use it as a guiding light to get through the one giving you a problem. You’re not blocked – if anything, you’re lost. So get unlost by taking control of what you’re writing. It’s your damn story. Writing is hard work, but it’s not rocket science. Well, unless you’re writing about rocket science. And odds are that you’re not.
By using the term writer’s block, all you’re really doing is making things harder for yourself. You hide behind an excuse instead of finding out what you’re doing wrong. Saying “I have writer’s block” may fly with some people. All I hear is “I’m not invested enough in my story to put in the effort required to find out what I’m doing wrong.”
My own solution was to get “no excuses” tattooed on my wrist and always do my best to live up to it. Whether you do the same or maybe something less drastic is up to you, but don’t think you sound like a writer if you tell people you have writer’s block. You sound more like a blockhead.