A hot subject in the writing world, writer’s block. In fact, it’s probably the hottest topic around.
Why? Because you either believe in it, or you don’t. What do I think? The complicated pile is behind the cut.
Writer’s Block, YES or NO.
There are, in my opinion, 4 types of Writer’s Block. One not real, the other three very real.
- Lazy Block
- Grief Block
- Mental Illness Block
- Catastrophic Block
I will explain each in detail.
1. LAZY BLOCK. The not real block. This is where someone says “I have writer’s block” in order to cover the fact that they’re just too lazy to write. I know quite a few people like this. One of them makes me so mad that I see red just thinking about it; their problem, they ‘let the story percolate’ – and I have only once or twice ever seen them write. And often, they run out of steam on anything because they don’t plot, they don’t research, they don’t anything. They just wait for the muse to tell them what’s next. Another, pisses me off simply because all they actually do is rewrite fairy tales, often complaining about how they have no inspiration. Honey, ALL YOU DO IS REWORD SOMEONE ELSE’S WORK. /madrant over. I promise.
Do I ever claim this one? NO. Why? Because if I’m too lazy to write, I’m going to tell you about it. (Also known as, the post of “I should probably get off the interwebz and write”)
2. GRIEF BLOCK. Very real. I’ve experienced this one myself. This one is where someone (a pet, a friend, a family member, that random person who cheers you on so much, it doesn’t matter) dies, and in your grief, you can’t touch your writing. I’ve got a story, called Underwater Metropolis that I’m still working on finishing – and it’s going to take me at least another two years to finish. Why? Because I modeled the professors in the university after some lovely older men that always came into the cafe I worked at. Back in October of 2012, my favorite buddy passed away. He was the one who told me to keep working on the story, that I’d get the plot problem worked out, and that it was a great story. To this day, I still can’t open the files up without tearing up. I was able to go to his memorial, so I do know where he’s buried, and I actually drove past it earlier this week. I ended up crying in the car. (And thinking about it now, I’m tearing up.) (This story is the Metropolis tag)
3. MENTAL ILLNESS BLOCK. Very real. I’ve been here too. This is depression, this is mania, this is anxiety, this has been and can be ADD/ADHD, this is paranoia. This one can be a lot of things. The bulk of my family is manic bi-polar. Most of them manage to function unmedicated. Me, I am manic bi, with anxiety + OCD + some degree of ADHD. My mania is generally soft waves, not the hard ones that most people associate with mania (of which there are two actual forms, happy/sad and happy/angry – I am blessed to be a happy/sad). Sometimes I do swing hard to the happy or sad sides. I went ultra sad near the end of march. Right now, I’m mellow, but I am still below the middle line. When I am “ultra sad” I don’t function well at all, and most of my time is spent trying to hide from the things that make me hurt worse, or curled up in a ball trying not to cry.
I hate it when I swing, because it means my productivity goes out the window. And it’s not just my writing productivity. I’ve got no dishes available in the house (they’re all stacked in the sink, waiting to be washed). I need to do at least four loads of laundry, (I’ve only done my work clothes, I’m out of everything else as of this morning). ALL PRODUCTIVITY dies when I down-swing.
4. CATASTROPHIC BLOCK. Very real, and rather painful. This is where an event makes you stop writing for a period of time. Be it simple to complex these events are nothing to play with. Hard drive failures, edited hard copies go missing, house fires, tornados, hurricanes, someone actively goes in and deletes your manuscripts, these all fall under this category. This has also happened to me. Which one, however? It was a binder that actually contained work for some online classes that I was taking. This binder also had, tucked into the back, a complete edit of a short story, plus the entire stack of papers where I had worked out how the star charts worked, how space flight worked, what each of four planets looked like, 23 character bios and descriptions, Species descriptions, how the naming systems worked for two planets. The whole binder vanished. I have a theory as to what happened to it, but there’s no one to confirm it without confronting the person I think did the deed. And they’ve never believed that I could do this writing thing worth anything anyway (hence, why they’re the suspect).
What happened? I stopped writing period for two and a half months. Then NaNoWriMo and November rolled around, and I told myself that there was no excuse to miss NaNo. This was this past August / November, and I’m still reeling from the loss of the binder. I never allow that individual any where near any of my writing files ever again. When they come to visit, everything is burned to CDs, and the series bible (the new replacement binder of info) plus those CDs move into a friends custody for the entire duration of the stay (I’ve also got zipped up and sealed digital copies of everything in one of my email inboxes). Now, I take no risks. (Also, that was The Aurora Chronicles that the binders belonged to.)
What do you think? Do these types of blocks sound familiar to you? Do you agree with my assessment of the kinds of writer’s block? Discuss! Comments will be open for 15 days, (my default), and everyone can comment. All comments are read and approved by me, and I’ll be trying to get to them asap.