Writer’s Block: Fact Or Myth? – #MyFriendAlexa

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

154 thoughts on “Writer’s Block: Fact Or Myth? – #MyFriendAlexa”

  1. Writer’s block is real and hard hitting. I faced the same lately and it was very depressing. But as they say, once a writer always a writer so we take the plunge and wear our creative hats when the time is right.

    1. Yes, it is indeed real. But thankfully it is not the kind of condition that can blight a writer’s creativity once and for all. It is temporary and sooner or later we pick up the threads of writing.

  2. Honestly I never felt this Writer’s Block but there are times when IAM too tired or stressed bec of anything, then it’s difficult to concentrate on writing.

    1. I suppose it varies from person to person and depends on a person’s psyche too. As I mentioned the condition is probably more pronounced among people who write fiction when there are chances of the imagination getting clogged up.

  3. From my personal experience and from my observations of other, I have found that it’s okay to go through a creative block once in a while. And it’s not something to be stressed about. Like you said, I have experienced blocks when writing stories or poems. But if I ditch that idea for sometime and instead write a book review or something else, my mind works perfectly fine. Maybe changing activities when experiencing blocks is a way to overcome them?

    1. Yes, that definitely sounds logical. When the imagination is blocked the best idea is to write something that is based on facts rather than creativity. This will definitely give the mind an opportunity to settle down. Starting freshly after some time usually removes the block.

  4. For me, the writer’s block was real and depressing. Especially when you have many ideas to talk about but words just disappear. Though it is not a permanent thing but the short duration has nothing lovely about it.

    1. Yes. We end up wondering if we would ever be able to write again. But sooner or later the creative juices are back in action and all is well.

    1. Yes, the circumstances at various times in our lives also make a definite impact on the mind and this also contributes to writer’s block

    1. Yes, stress is another thing that has a role to play in creating a block in the writer’s mind. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      1. Keep trying. It will take some time but you will be able to write if you keep trying. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

  5. New blog, new layout and fresh ideas. So much has happened in the last 2 months Jai when I was on a forced break due to recurrent health issues. Simply wow. You have chosen to write on a relevant topic. Writer’s Block is for real. I haven’t faced it yet probably because I had intermittent breaks that made me itch to get back to writing. But every point raised here hits a chord with me.

    1. It is a good thing you have not faced a block till now. I am still struggling to write a short story. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    1. It is a good thing that writer’s block does not create permanent damage and is a passing phase. Than you for visiting and commenting.

  6. That banayan tree story left a chill down my spine. I have personally experienced writter’s block for as long as 3 months.. however there is a peculiar tendency, it happens only for fiction stories. If i have to write non-fiction, i can do it anytime, anywhere..just like u said. Yes..it’s for real and i hope people are more considerate towards it. Many writers go into depression just because of writer’s block.

    1. That banyan tree story is probably an urban legend but yes writer’s block does exist and it can really pull down writers for a long period of time. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  7. Interesting! Writer’s block is real and so is plot bunny. I have so many topics in my mind but not able to gather my thoughts and begin writing. Sometimes I end up writing just anything for the heck of it. I know it’s not justified but you got the ball rolling. I hope you overcome this block soon.
    Good luck,
    Surbhi #sureads

  8. I also have a first hand experience of facing writer’s block, and my understanding is it majorly depends on the mental state of the writer. if the phase of life is not very great, the person can not write. liked your post.

    1. Yes, the mental state of the writer matters a lot. Once the psychological barrier is overcome the writer automatically recovers.

  9. You may have hit upon something there. When you write fiction, or just pen down your innermost thoughts, chances for a block are much higher. Non-fiction writing can come easier because there’s a process to be followed – the research phase itself starts giving you ideas and gets the narrative flowing. Quite an interesting perspective.

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Glad you liked the post. Different people give different explanations for writer’s block. But most people agree that writer’s block is real.

    1. That is a very good idea. Switch over to something else and simply quit writing for some time and the writer would most probably be back in form again.

  10. Writer’s block is so real for me at times, it does not help that my full time job requires me to write. Although I love every part of writing, but to come home and wear the creative hat again kind of does take a toll on me. But the day I push myself to post, or when I am able to stay consistent with my blog, the joy is unmatched.

    1. Yes, writer’s block is especially debilitating if that is what a person does to earn his/her pay cheque. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Glad you liked the post.

  11. Writer’s block is real thing and I had too faced this situation so many times, but it is just the matter of time, and with some situmalation you can again go on track. #Surbhireads #Myfriendalexa

  12. As you said that you have no problem to write non-fictional stories. This happens to everyone at some point.

    Writing block is genuine in my opinion;)

  13. You are absolutely right, the writer’s block affects the creative faculties. Factual writing can continue unabated. It was interesting to read about the classroom incident. The best way to deal with it is…let it be!

  14. Writer’s block can happen to anyone, I guess, irrespective of niche. All I do is take a walk, smell the flowers or read a book. It is good to take your mind off for a while.

  15. It is theme that decides writers block for me. Focus on your niche and do your best.
    Even I tried to write fiction for Blogchatter creative writing course and it took me thrice as much time as I take to write non-fiction.

    1. Non-fiction is based on facts and not as much on imagination and creativity as fiction does. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Glad you liked the post.

  16. I agree with you- writing non-fiction is infinitely easier than writing fiction. I can’t say I have faced writers block but I do need a strong inspiration to write works of fiction while I can wax lyrical on non-fiction subjects on a daily basis.

    1. Yes, I guess it also depends on the writer to a large extent. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Glad you liked the post.

  17. It cannot be a myth…I struggle with this everyday…the ideas in my head that refuse to translate on paper or word document. And, then those brilliant moments just vanish. Great post!

  18. The story is fascinating. And I think writers block is for real. But as you said, it should not be dealt with firmly. Its normal and an occasional break is sometimes rejuvenating. I try to catch up on a lot of reading when I’m not able to write.

    1. Yes. The trick to overcoming writers’ block is to just give yourself a break and then try to get the flow again. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

  19. Writer’s block is a reality and something I always dread. I may have had days or weeks of it but thankfully nothing that lasted too long for me to get worried. But I also feel that wonderful writers, like you, will emerge out of it in no time. Just need to keep the faith and stay confident.

    1. I love how you have written the story about the banyan tree . And linked it to writers block. I am a newbie to writing hoping to learn from your blog. #myfriendalexa #damurureads

    2. Happy to know that you think so highly of me. It means a lot coming from a fellow blogger whom I respect. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

  20. Amazing post! I totally relate to it! However, in my case, writing fiction is easier than writing non-fiction…in fact, I try to weave in anecdotes within non-fiction to make them more interesting…just as you have done. I simply LOVE your writing style! Keep writing such interesting posts. #MyFriendAlexa #DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter

  21. at times i just look at the screen and i’m unable to write anything, then i just leave it at that. Then read more sooner or later we’ll get something to write.

    1. Yes, the onset of the writers block happens rather suddenly but then again it also goes away equally suddenly. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

  22. I have faced writer’s block occasionally. Words refuse to come out of me. Sometimes ideas do the same. Sometimes i force myself out of it, other times i wait patiently.

  23. True! Writers block is hard to get rid of it. But i feel reading helps. Maybe you should read more of books of genre you never tried or blogs. I have finding reading blogs helping me to come up with ideas. Like reading yours did gave me an idea. I too struggle a lot when it comes to fiction writing. Its difficult to keep the creativity flow. I loved the story though! Amazing.

  24. I can’t say I have faced a writer’s block till the date. My mind never lacks ideas probably because of my niche. I write long-form content because I just can not write short. The problem is it is the lack of time which delays posting content regularly on my blog. But I liked your article and blog. It is fresh and unique.

  25. I don’t know if I have had a writers block but there are times when you have too many ideas and you can’t focus on one. There are times when I am too tired or stressed and the flow does not come. I guess all part of the game. But once a writer always a writer. If you don’t write for some time, you miss it and come back with a bang! Loved your post

    1. I agree. Once a writer always a writer. Sooner or later the blocks disappear. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

  26. I am happy you have written about this. For me, writing on my blog always gives me inner peace and above all satisfaction. I feel my creativity starts flowing as soon as I start writing!!

  27. I loved the layout of your post.Writer’s block is veey real, even,your topic is completely Bang on,when these days I am facing this issue various times.

  28. I too have faced the block, sometimes for months. It’s just that in my case I wait for a cue. Something should strike and bring out the writing.. I don’t write for the sake of writing and I don’t push myself to write just because I decided to write on certain days of the week. Many do that and it’s worked for them. The reason I join challenges like Alexa is to see if I can be pushed and yes, it has worked. So….I suppose, writer’s block is a myth (my opinion).

    That apart…I have read many of your stories and enjoy reading them. Keep writing.

    1. Well, maybe you have not had the misfortune to have your writing skills stymied for a long time. As I have personally experienced a blank state of mind when I have set out to write I can vouch for writers block not not being a myth. I respect your opinion and agree to disagree.

  29. Writer’s block is real ! It is very frustrating because sometimes you sit down and you are not able to write anything ! When this happens, I just get up , have a cup of coffee and try to relax.!

    1. You are doing just the right thing to recuperate and get your flow back. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

  30. Writer’s block is a fact similar to bad days or ups & downs in life, and it can hit anyone anytime. sometimes emotionally or mentally we are occupied that we cant creatively write, but then we need to take a break, walk, listen to music or just let it be to start afresh. Loved the story in the post.

    1. Happy you liked the post. Yes, the best medicine for getting over a block is to do something and take your mind off the problem.

  31. I guess I have not written enough if I have not gone through a writer’s block. I think if there is a block one should just take a trip and I am sure it would open any clogged minds. #wordsmithkaurreads #BlogChatter #MyFriendAlexa

  32. I feel Writer’s block is a real thing. I am a travel blogger and whenever I am not travelling for a longer period of time, I kinda develop this block. As you said, whenever I face it, I just let ride out the time and whenever I ready, I go back to my writing.

  33. So true! I consider myself more of a fiction writer. And that is the very part of my writing that suffers under writer’s block. My dry spells have lasted much longer than ten days. I’m talking about months altogether! I also feel that some deep connection within us gets broken and that’s the root cause of writer’s block! Glad to know that there’s somebody else who thinks that way. And yes, the best way to deal with it is to wait it out. I hope you’ll be able to find your way back to fiction-land! 🙂

    1. Our thoughts are identical. I also find myself stymied only when I write fiction. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

  34. I so identify with your experience about facing writers block when it comes to fiction and having no problem when it is about writing non-fiction. Looking forward to read more on this series.

  35. Hi Jai, this post flowed so smoothly and i just enjoyed it thoroughly. Though i may not be the right person to comment on the genre you write but with whatever little bit i write, there definitely have been times that i have got stuck while writing. At times, it has been because of want of specific flow or language, where the intent has been to get the writing right for the readers. For me, the writer’s block exist only in the act of writing. A writer’s mind is always full of ideas (rather too many at any point of time) and the real challenge is what to get out in the form of writing. Maybe , at times, we try to bind ourselves in a specific context or framework and that impacts the flow of thoughts and the process of writing.

    1. First of all, I am happy you enjoyed reading my post. And I can understand that sometimes there are too many ideas swimming in our mind and that can cause some problem. But the fact that sometimes we tend to get trapped in a certain thought pattern contributes a lot to a block. For example, in my case, I wrote a fictional story on the 26th of August and every time I try to write fiction now, my thoughts are leading me along a path similar to the story I wrote on the 26th and I am unable to think of any new plot.

  36. Nobody can maintain a 100% productivity level everyday. No matter what field they are in. Writer’s block is just that. It’s important to take days off and do other things as well to keep yourself sane and motivated.

    1. I agree. We should not keep a tight schedule and force ourselves to write without a rest. That sometimes causes a lot of problems. At the same time, we should not take too big a rest for fear of losing touch with our writing.

    1. Paresh, I am not talking about not getting a topic to write on. A block is an inability to write irrespective of topic. I am speaking of a block which means an inability to write fluently and that too in my case just fiction. I think you have not read the article properly. In any case, you may have been lucky enough to not have experienced a block till now. But it is a problem which even renowned authors like Stephen King acknowledge. Let us agree to disagree about writers block being a myth.

    1. Yes, writing for too long a time or being out of touch for a long time also matters a lot on the onset of a block. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting.

  37. I could relate so much to the blog post ;as i have faced writer’s block a couple of times ; especially when i’m done writing a poetic work ; i feel too drained out of emotions that for days out nothing comes back to me; but then suddenly it all comes back together. Weird are the ways of thoughts. Every time i face this, it feels just like the time i had blanked out amidst a stage performance .

  38. In my opinion writer’s block is definitely real. I have experienced it when I couldn’t write anything meaningful on some interesting topics that would have otherwise resulted in an unstoppable flow of thoughts and ideas. Thanks for sharing this. #MyFriendAlexa #CloudandSunshineReads

  39. I totally agree with you and I have faced this situation myself specially when you are not in the correct frame of mind but it is only the question of time till you get stable again I am back on track writing.

  40. I hear you, Jai! Such a candid article. You hit the nail on the head. It’s easier to write non-fiction but it’s really something else to write fiction consistently. I have faced the writer’s block when it comes to conjuring stories. Let’s back each other up and support one another in becoming better fiction writers. You have it in you to write thrilling stories. Keep at it. Looking forward to your next fiction.

    1. Yes, I guess since we both write fiction as well as non-fiction we are able to realise the difficulty in conjuring up stories. Thanks for the encouragement and yes, do let us back each other up. Bhumi was really great. I simply loved the telling poetic phrases you seem to be able to conjure up. They really make people feel the emotion you want to convey.

  41. This was an interesting read and absolutely loved reading it till the last line of the blog. As much as I would like to say that I might have experienced the writer’s block, I couldn’t deny that it might have been sheer laziness from my end. I fall into this category too wherein writing non-fiction is just a tad bit easier than fiction.

  42. Yes Jai, I agree that writer’s block is NOT a myth. It is real. It happens with me as well whenever I try writing Fiction stories. I feel that I am unable to think any more. But I leave it as it is and I try it the next day. And it works. 🙂

    Loved your post. !

  43. When i am unable to put my ideas down in words, i take a break that day. I guess i am pretty comfortable with the idea that creative people have their moods and i never get bothered if i am unable to write for a couple of days infact use that time to build my energies to finish a lot more in upcoming days. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this…

  44. To be honest I’ve never gone through Writer;s Block. I write at my own pace and own liking. Sometimes i could not be consistent with being held up in my job but that don’t demotivate me in any way. Nice post, I liked reading it 🙂

  45. I agree to you, I too believe that fictional writing is more of being creative and that’s why writer’s block is more prone to fictional writers.. i never write fiction and have never faced writer’s block.

  46. It’s so real and relatable. Daily I have like 10-20 thoughts about writing a post but then by the end of the day, they get all lost in the air and I’m left with nothing 🙂

  47. Yeah it is true it is not a myth. It is like even a top batsman is out of form and gets out quickly and doesnt know from the next run is going to come. Nice thinking post sirji.
    Hope you are recovering well.
    #ContemplationOfaJoker #Jokerophilia #MyFriendAlexa

  48. Writer’s block is real and I go through it many times. I do not feel like writing at times. But then a few things are tgere to motivate and I get back to writing.

  49. I too have never had writer’s block to non fiction.. But the moment I think about fiction, so many thoughts clog it, making the post delayed.

    So, I write fiction only when I get that idea strong in my mind and otherwise, I stick to non fiction. So far, I was never under pressure to create fiction.. And thus all good! 😀

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