I’m trying to get into my regular groove again since winter break is drawing to a close, but something is pulling at my mind as I’m trying to write my article for the week. Words escape me, and when I do manage to pin down a few, they seem like garbage. Sound familiar?
Writer's block is a common experience that almost everyone shares. Whether it’s trying to crank out those last paragraphs for your essay or trying to find the right words to put in an email to a colleague, everyone has felt some mental strain when they struggle to write.
As the result of coming in contact with a problem and trying to solve it, I do some research.
The phrase “writer’s block” was coined by Edmund Bergler, an Austrian psychoanalyst, in 1947. Bergler relates writer’s block to “psychic masochism” which refers to when people have goals and dreams for the future, but they ultimately self-sabotage unconsciously because, like the “masochism” in the phrase suggests, they like the displeasure they feel which might be due to their mother not loving them enough, but the psychoanalytical jargon is kind of unclear.
This seems like an extreme diagnosis for writer’s block in general and it is; everyone gets writer’s block for a different number of reasons. Causes of writer’s block can range from schizophrenia to just being dehydrated, so having a writer’s block does not necessarily mean anything bad.
Now when you search about writer’s block, there’s multiple links to how to cure it in seven easy steps, how other writers deal with it, and so on. I’m not bashing any of these tips and ideas, because some of them actually do work for different people and that’s great, but the main thing that causes writer’s block from what I know from mine and others’ experience is just stress.
It can be stress over a deadline, fear that what you write will not be as good enough as the last thing you wrote, or just being afraid to make a mistake, all of which can lead to the sense of being overwhelmed or disoriented when it comes to actually putting those words down on paper.
So like many articles that usually come in list form, my advice to you is to just breathe, do something else productive, step away from the project to clear your head, and try not to get too frustrated. The worst thing about writer’s block is the frustration and the procrastination that usually follows it, so don’t let it get the best of you because the best part of writer’s block is when it alleviates and you are finally able to produce something.
"Basic Neurosis, The-Oral Regression and Psychic Masochism." International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis. Encyclopedia.com, n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2017.
Castillo, M. "Writer's Block." Writer's Block. American Journal of Neuroradiology, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 06 Jan. 2017.
"Writer's Block." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 06 Jan. 2017.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writer's_block