How to overcome writer’s block | Sunday Observer

How to overcome writer’s block

8 May, 2022

Most writers, when writing, confront writer’s block. As a result, they couldn’t continue writing and sometimes had to give up the whole manuscript, or wait for years to begin writing. But how can one overcome writer’s block? Or how can a writer avoid it? To receive an answer for this, we have to refer to many opinions by writers, because writing styles are peculiar to each writer.

It’s all necessary - Jhumpa Lahiri

According to Bengali origin American writer Jhumpa Lahiri, writer’s block is a natural part of the creative process for almost all writers. She speaks about the writer’s block to the Literary Hub literary magazine as follows:

“There are times when one is bursting with ideas and inspiration and all the necessary components — time, focus, etc. — are in place. But there are other times when one or more of those elements is missing and writing is more difficult as a result. I think a lot of what people refer to as ‘writer’s block’ is the period during which ideas gestate in the mind, when a story grows but isn’t necessarily being written in sentences on the page. But it’s all necessary, in the end. If I am feeling stuck or uninspired, I usually take a break and read. That always gets me going again.”

It’s a delicious myth - Rumaan Alam

Rumaan Alam, in an interview with Literary Hub, says:

“Sure, there are days I don’t feel like looking at my computer or picking up a pencil. But you never stop thinking, and thinking is a part of writing too. I’ll probably develop a case now that I’m saying this on the record but writer’s block is a delicious myth and nothing more.”

Answer is to travel - Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison’s views on this are expressed in a Paris Review interview:

“I wonder, when a writer’s blocked and doesn’t have any resources to pull himself out of it, why doesn’t he jump in his car and drive around the USA? You pack along a bunch of stomach remedies and a bottle of whiskey.”

Times of not access to the language - Toni Morrison

Veteran writer Toni Morrison, in a 1994 interview with Claudia Dreifus, said:

“I disavow that term. There are times when you don’t know what you’re doing or when you don’t have access to the language or the event. So if you’re sensitive, you can’t do it. When I wrote Beloved, I thought about it for three years. I started writing the manuscript after thinking about it, and getting to know the people and getting over the fear of entering that arena, and it took me three more years to write it.”

Reading is the way to prevent it - Tobias Carroll

Carmen Maria Machado, in an interview with Tobias Carroll, states:

“I believe so strongly that writers need to read, and that reading is the way you can prevent writer’s block or get over writer’s block. You can’t keep writing if you’re not filling your gas tank with whatever you want to read.”

Blocked when you pick wrong subject - Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury, in “Telling the Truth,” the keynote address of The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, said:

“... ‘What if you have a blockage and you don’t know what to do about it?’ Well, it’s obvious you’re doing the wrong thing, don’t you? In the middle of writing something you go blank and your mind says: ‘No, that’s it.’ Ok. You’re being warned, aren’t you? Your subconscious is saying ‘I don’t like you anymore. You’re writing about things I don’t give a damn for.’ You’re being political, or you’re being socially aware. You’re writing things that will benefit the world. To hell with that! I don’t write things to benefit the world. If it happens that they do, swell. I didn’t set out to do that. I set out to have a hell of a lot of fun.

“I’ve never worked a day in my life. The joy of writing has propelled me from day to day and year to year. I want you to envy me, my joy. Get out of here tonight and say: ‘Am I being joyful?’ And if you’ve got a writer’s block, you can cure it this evening by stopping whatever you’re writing and doing something else. You picked the wrong subject.”

It’s a load of nonsense - Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith, in an interview with The Daily Mail, commented:

“Writer’s block is a load of nonsense — I’ve always been a bit suspicious of it. It’s more likely to be a symptom of depression or maybe they’ve just got nothing interesting to say. Using your imagination to create a work of fiction involves exercising the mind and the more you do it, the more adept you become. I go to Botswana for a couple of weeks a year and I just open my eyes to the opportunities in everyday life. Most of my writing is what I have in the bank of memories I’ve accumulated.”

Every bit of writing is a necessary part - Danez Smith

Danez Smith, in an interview with Literary Hub, had a view:

“I don’t believe in writer’s block. When I am experiencing what feels like it, I know I need to do one of a few things. The first would be to stop writing and to focus on absorbing art.

“When I’m not happy with my writing, I know I need to spend more time listening, looking, reading, touching, & tasting other people’s creativity to feed my own. The other thing I have to do is ask questions. (Why am I stuck? Is it the piece? Am I feeling balanced enough in other areas in my life to flourish in my writing? Am I hungry? Am I tired? Are the ideas and the genre of what I’m working on agreeing with each other? Am I experiencing a roadblock or a directive to try something else?)

“Another option is to write through it, to write every ugly, horrible sentence that comes to mind and just work until I find something of value. I am a firm believer that every bit of writing is a necessary part of the process, and I’ve come to trust that on the other side of the ‘block’ is something new and exciting waiting for me,” he said.

From these answers by prominent world writers, we can overcome the writer’s block and continue writing without any disturbance.