What Does Writer’s Block Feel Like?

642ThingsThis prompt from 642 Things to Write About amuses me, since writer’s block is exactly what the book aims to abolish.

So what does writer’s block feel like? Well, it’s too simple just to say that it’s frustrating, but that’s a good place to start. It is extremely frustrating. Have you ever been telling a story to a friend and got hung up on a particular word? You know exactly what you mean to say, and you can maybe even think of other ways to say it, but you can’t come up with that one word that you really want to use. It’s right on the tip of your tongue – you can taste it – but for some reason it won’t come out and the entire story is ruined because of it. That’s kind of what writer’s block feels like, except multiplied by the thousands of words that won’t come out.

A lot of people think that writing is easy – and for some lucky people it is – but when writer’s block hits it’s like being struck blind, deaf, and dumb. Imagine that you’ve had years and years of training in a particular field, and even more years of experience working in that field. You know your stuff. You’re good at your job. Now imagine that, sporadically and without any kind of warning, all of that knowledge and experience is wiped from your head and you’re left floundering around with absolutely no idea of what you just did or what to do next. That’s kind of what writer’s block feels like, and you have no clue or indication at all of when (or if) your brain might start working again.

Have you ever desperately wanted to finish something, but couldn’t because of circumstances outside of your control? Maybe you suffered an injury during some kind of big competition that you’d been training for. Maybe your car broke down and made you miss a huge event that you’d been planning for months. Maybe you’d gathered the courage to confess your feelings to someone, just before finding out that they’d confessed their feelings to someone else. You had something in your life that felt like the most important thing in the world, but it slipped through your fingers and you don’t know if you’ll ever be able to get it back again. That’s kind of what writer’s block feels like, except that the troublesome outside force is actually an evil blankness inside your own head.

Long story short, writer’s block feels like incompetence. It feels like you’ve been reduced to a base state, a blank slate, and you have no idea how you’re supposed to bring yourself back.

So next time you hear someone complaining that they have writer’s block, maybe consider giving them a hug.

Have you ever experienced writer’s block? What do you think it feels like? What do you do to try and break through it? Please share!

Also, a reminder that I am running a contest throughout the month of March. For each comment you post on my blog throughout the month, you will receive one entry toward a draw for a hard-copy of my zombie apocalypse novel, “Nowhere to Hide”! Please note that in order to accept the prize, I will need you to give me a mailing address where I can have the book sent. If the winner drawn did not intend to enter the contest and/or does not want the book, I will draw another name. Please also note that obvious spam/duplicate comments/etc. will not be counted toward an entry…play fair! And good luck!

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