There’s the “I don’t want to sit down and work on that book right now!” type of block. This is basically procrastination and just not wanting to make time for a difficult activity.
There’s also the second type…and I know they do exist because I received an email from one of them recently…of people who are staring at a blank screen with panic. And I think the problem is that they don’t know why their block is happening or what to try to do to fix it.
I’ve heard it said that there isn’t any such thing as writer’s block. That handymen don't get handyman's block and doctors don't get doctor's block. That’s true, but they’re not building worlds in their heads. I’ll admit that I don’t get writer’s block—but there are some days when I do hesitate a lot while writing. I know it’s all coming out wrong. I know it’s going to have to be fixed. I know it’s bad writing.
But I just keep on spewing out crappy writing because I know I’ll fix it later.
I think, though, that people who genuinely see a blank screen and freeze up for long periods of time are really just afraid. They’re afraid of failure. They want so badly to write something well that they just choke up.
I think the best way to deal with those feelings is to continue writing. To give myself permission to completely fail while expressing my ideas on paper, with the knowledge that I will make it all better with revisions.
These are some helpful posts on writer’s block that I’ve come across in the past:
21 Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block Writer’s Block—the Pros and Cons of just writing through it A resource roundup to solving writer’s block Overcoming Writer’s Block The underlying cause of writer’s block—fear of failure
If you’ve gotten blocked before, how did you work through it. If you don’t get blocked, what advice can you offer folks who do?