Recently a couple of friends of mine gave me a very honest feedback about the deterioration in quality of my blog posts. I did agree with them?. What could be the possible reasons?. One of the reasons could be a condition called ‘Writer’s block’.
Writer’s block is a condition, associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite.
Causes of writer’s block
Writer’s block may have many or several causes. Some are essentially creative problems that originate within an author’s work itself. A writer may run out of inspiration. The writer may be greatly distracted and feel they may have something that needs to be done before hand. A project may be fundamentally misconceived, or beyond the author’s experience or ability. A fictional example can be found in George Orwell’s novel Keep The Aspidistra Flying, in which the protagonist Gordon Comstock struggles in vain to complete an epic poem describing a day in London: “It was too big for him, that was the truth. It had never really progressed, it had simply fallen apart into a series of fragments.”
Other blocks, especially the more serious kind, may be produced by adverse circumstances in a writer’s life or career: physical illness, depression, the end of a relationship, financial pressures, a sense of failure. The pressure to produce work may in itself contribute to a writer’s block, especially if they are compelled to work in ways that are against their natural inclination, i.e. too fast or in some unsuitable style or genre. In some cases, writer’s block may also come from feeling intimidated by a previous big success, the creator putting on themselves a paralyzing pressure to find something to equate that same success again. The writer Elizabeth Gilbert, reflecting on her post-bestseller prospects, proposes that such a pressure might be released by interpreting creative writers as “having” genius rather than “being” a genius. In George Gissing’s New Grub Street, one of the first novels to take writer’s block as a main theme, the novelist Edwin Reardon becomes completely unable to write and is shown as suffering from all those problems.
In her 2004 book The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain (ISBN 9780618230655), the writer and neurologist Alice W. Flaherty has argued that literary creativity is a function of specific areas of the brain, and that block may be the result of brain activity being disrupted in those areas.
Writer’s Block is mentioned on various occasions in the 2006 film, Stranger Than Fiction. The character of Karen Eiffel admits to suffering from Writer’s Block when she is having difficulty envisioning how to kill her book’s hero, Harold Crick.
It is also featured in the game Alan Wake, where the main character, Alan Wake, is suffering from a form of writer’s block for years on end which leaves him unable to write and nearly ends his marriage because of it. In the 2004 psychological thriller Secret Window, which is based on the novella “Secret Window, Secret Garden” by Stephen King, the main character is a writer by the name of Mort Rainey played by Johnny Depp, who portrays a man who is going through a divorce and as a result is suffering from writer’s block.