Monday, 21 January 2013

Writing blocks: do they exist?

This came up as a question on Writing From Your Heart 12 Facebook page.

I said firmly that I didn't believe in writing blocks and I stand by that as far as it relates to the mechanics of writing. Because in terms of words on a page, there are many techniques to be used that allow you write.

Sounds harsh? Maybe but let me take you back ten years.

In my hand I held an envelope containing an assignment I'd sent off to my writing correspondence course.
I was quite pleased with it when I sent it off but by the time I'd read the comments on the accompanying sheet, I felt shredded.

Too many pages, too much waffle, not enough emotional content. It was 12 pages and my next assignment was to reduce it down to 8.

More inclined to make paper airplanes with it than look at it again, I left it for a couple of days.

Didn't look any easier to me to start changing words, or horror of horrors, deleting them.

Of course I did it. And of course my tutor was right. The reduced piece was sharper, firmer and more directed at the reader.


Where I can agree to blocks is in the emotional connection to the words you might want to write. But that's a different issue

These can happen at different stages of the writing process and need a different kind of therapy to loosen them.

  1. It may feel too emotionally charged to write about something, not allowing you to begin.
  2. While you're writing painful emotions can come upand feel threatening to you.
  3. When you've finished the writing, even if it's been therapeutic to write it, you may feel blocked about doing anything with what you've written.


After I'd answered the Facebook question I mulled over the question further and thought it might be useful to discuss it with Tom Evans, The Bookwright who has written extensively about creativity blocks.

Our discussion will go out to subscribers of WFYH Monthly Enfolding on 1 February.

Sign up at and join in the discussion about this topic that haunts most writers at some point in their writing life.

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