by Frances Lynn
Does Writer’s Block really exist? Or, is it a fabled myth in the writer’s tortured psyche?
Is there such a disability as a barren imagination? If a writer convinces himself that he (or she) is blocked, maybe it’s just a form of mental constipation? It's not easy to evict inspiration from one's cranium, in order to translate it in a unique style, onto the screen or paper.
How can a writer be totally blocked, if he still has fragments of conscious ideas fermenting in his head? If a writer has come to a halt with a specific, work-in-progress project, surely it would be beneficial for him to tinker with his other creative ‘avenues’.
Perhaps I’m being cynical when I say that a writer is only truly blocked when he or she is afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, like the late Irish Murdoch. To my knowledge I’ve never had an authentic dose of severe writer’s block, even though I’ve been re-writing the same book for years. But, I'm the first to admit, I’m stuck with it, not blocked. My stale project seems to have turned into such a dead-end, that I’m tempted to burn the entire manuscript, Hindu style. However, since someone once advised me never to throw any of my work away, I intend to keep my laborious effort on my computer's hard drive for posterity.
My next ambition is to scrap the entire book and write a virgin draft with a different angle: a more original plot, new characters and a totally different ending. But, how can I bear the agony and no ecstasy of starting afresh, repeating myself with the same theme but with a completely different premise to my original concept? The idea of ruthlessly re-working my old novel makes me freeze before I start. I wish I could blame my fear and loathing on being blocked, but it’s just laziness that prevents me from having to hypnotise myself all over again in order to sit down and re-create my new novel.
Having never been afflicted with an inability to write for prolonged periods, I'm not professionally qualified to debate. But, I should imagine that if a doomed writer has a pathological terror of confronting his sub-conscious demons in order to write, he is likely to obliterate his senses with a concentrated diet of alcohol. That's what I would call a terminal form of writer's block.
Copyright: Frances Lynn 2006
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Frances Lynn is a professional writer and journalist. Her two novels, "Frantic" and "Crushed" are published in e-book, paperback and hardback by Eiworth Publishing. Her musings on writing can be read on www.writerholic.blogspot.com/ and her life in London is at www.franceslynn.org/