(Please note that I’ll be away from my computer and won’t be able to respond to comments. I’ll trust my fellow MWers to comment on my behalf.)
The other day I gave a talk at a local book fair. The talk was on point of view and also touched on character, voice, narrative, etc. I read passages from several of my books including Rules of Ascension, Robin Hood, the new Thieftaker book, and my as-yet-unpublished urban fantasy, and then picked each passage apart explaining why I used that particular point of view character and that particular voice.
The talk was well-received, and the Q and A that followed was lively and interesting. Naturally, the questions quickly turned to the types of “How-do-I-get-started?” and “How-do-I-finish-my-book?” questions that we try to answer here at MW on a daily basis. And that was fine, too.
But eventually, during a discussion with one young writer, “writer’s block” came up, and as always I went on my writer’s block rant. I’m away from my computer for a little while, taking a much needed break. And so this is going to be a short post. But I thought I would repeat my WBR (Writer’s Block Rant) for you here. It goes something like this.
In my opinion, writer’s block does not exist. Writer’s block is a fiction (as it were) created by the same people who believe that writers sit around all day doing nothing, waiting for inspiration to strike; the same people who believe that if you’ve published a book you are instantly Successful and a Millionaire; the same people who believe that they “have a novel in them” and that if they just had the time to sit down and write it they would be enormously successful themselves, even though they have no training, no track record, and no desire to do the thousand little things that writers do everyday to make their books as good as they can be. In other words, this thing known as “writer’s block” assumes that writing is easy. The concept itself is founded on an illusion. Think about it. “Writer’s block” posits that writing a story or book is supposed to be one simple, flowing, uninterrupted process of creation. If in writing said story or book an author becomes stuck, or struggles, or finds that the words aren’t flowing, that author has — gasp! — Writer’s Block!!
Horse dung. Writing is hard. Really, really hard. The creative process for any writer — any artist, really — is filled with struggle, with false starts, with bursts of creativity followed by exhaustion and periods of inactivity. There are days when I am enormously productive and other days when I fight for every word. There are times when I can’t write at all, or if I do, the material I put out simply sucks. It’s not that I have writer’s block. There is no such beast, I tell you. Those fits and starts, which the rest of the world might see as an affliction, are simply the throes of the creative process. It’s not writer’s block. It’s writing.
And that’s really all I have to say.David B. Coe http://DavidBCoe.livejournal.com http://www.DavidBCoe.com http://magicalwords.net