Writer’s Block: Fact Or Myth?
Is writer’s block a genuine malice or is it a myth created by people? Before trying to answer the question, I would like to narrate a small anecdote my political science teacher used to regale our class with when I was in my 8th grade. The teacher’s name was Sivaramakrishnan and incidentally he was also the principal of my school. He was a really brilliant teacher and all of us enjoyed his lectures.
The story goes like this. There was a renowned professor of nuclear physics in a famous institution and all the students loved his lectures. He used to hold the class spellbound with his excellent teaching. There used to be a window in the classroom where this professor used to teach. If one looked through the window, one could see a banyan tree.
While lecturing the students, the professor would look out of the window frequently. One day the professor entered the classroom and began his lecture as usual. True to form, after five minutes he looked out of the window. As soon as he did that a blank look spread across his face. He stuttered, stammered and became so tongue-tied that he was unable to carry on with the lecture. Finally, he hurriedly made some excuse and left the classroom.
The students were taken by surprise. But one of the students, who was a bit more insightful than the others went up to the window and looked outside. It was then that he was able to understand the reason behind the professor’s speechlessness. What the student saw was that the banyan tree had been chopped off and all that remained in its place was a stump.
The student realized that the professor had become so habituated to looking at the tree while lecturing that when the tree was no longer there, he lost his ability to speak. When my political science teacher narrated this tale, we were really thrilled.
Of course, this story is too idealistic, and it might just be an urban legend. But it is my personal opinion that writer’s block operates in a similar way and is not a myth. There is something deep inside the subconscious mind that loses its balance and the writer becomes incapable of writing anymore. In most cases, the writer himself would be unable to identify what the problem is.
Many writers I have known tell me that writer’s block is just a myth. In fact, one lady told me that she had been writing for twenty years but had never experienced writer’s block. My own experience with writer’s block is somewhat selective. The longest duration of time when my writing skills have deserted me is ten days. But that again depends on what I want to write.
I write both fiction and non-fiction. I have written two novellas in the suspense thriller genre and a large number of short stories and flash fiction on my blog. The point to be noted is that I have never had the problem of not being able to write when it comes to non-fiction.
But I have faced numerous problems while writing fiction. Writing fiction requires a good deal of creativity and imagination. I have found that very often my imagination gets clogged and I am unable to conjure up stories. The well of creativity simply dries up and I find myself unable to think any further.
This happens whatever I try to write, be it short stories or fictional books. In fact, for this season’s #MyFriendAlexa campaign I wanted to come up with eight fictional stories in the thriller genre. I have been trying in vain to write a short story since the 26th of August. The last time I posted a short story was on the 26th. You can read the post here.
I have even tried downloading a large number of images from Pixabay and write stories based on those images. Even that has not worked. I have begun several stories and in some cases, I have almost reached the end but had to give up because of my inability to think of the surprise twist at the end. That is the reason I am writing posts in the non-fiction genre for this year’s #MyFriendAlexa campaign.
When it comes to non-fiction, I have never faced any problem. I find it is easy enough to sort out the facts in my mind and write well. I am not sure about other people, but in my opinion, it is fiction writers who are more likely to face writer’s block. This is because an essential quality of the brain gets bogged down for some strange reason and the writer finds himself stumped.
I have often found that when I am faced with a block it is better not to struggle and to just let things be for some time. Sooner or later the creative juices will start flowing and the imagination will start working again.
I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa