Why writer’s block can be a good thing.

Let’s not lie – writer’s block can be brutal. Some people don’t believe in it, and that you simply need to keep producing work until you shake yourself free from your creative torpor. I do believe, though, that writer’s block is actually A Thing.

Very often the inability to create new work is driven by fear – fear that it won’t be of the standard that you and your readers expect. Very often, too, it is driven by the worry that you are not saying anything that you have not said before.  Whenever I encounter writer’s block, I simply tell myself: this is a good thing. It means that I have exhausted all my influences, and it reminds me that the well of creativity is not of infinite depth, but that I must go out and read more, listen to more, feel more. And then, and only then, can I sit down to write again. So, if you have writer’s block, you can use this as an opportunity to pick up a book by a writer you’ve never read, to check out a genre of film or music you’ve previously left untouched: go to an exhibition, phone that friend you’ve not spoken to in too long, have fun. Soon enough, left quietly to replenish itself, your creativity will return.

(I realise that none of the above advice is of *any* use whatsoever to those of you who have writer’s block and are faced by a swiftly-approaching deadline. In your case, I would advise the two things that always work perfectly for me in such a situation: black coffee, and panic.)


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