Writer’s Block

The NSA FilesI don’t believe in writer’s block. To me, it’s like saying that I can’t complete a thought. I can start it, but then off I go in another direction and can’t find my way back. Or that I can’t hold onto a thought long enough—the length of a novel, for example. I find this writer’s block thing odd.

I wonder if it has to do with my upbringing (doesn’t everything?) For example, a story I remember has to do with the famous writer Harlan Ellison. Well, it’s not really a story, it’s the truth. Harlan used to sit in the showcase section of a bookstore in California (sorry, I forget which one). He’d take an idea from anyone and then sit in the display window and write the story—start to finish.

He was never out of stories. He wrote a lot: short stories, television scripts, novels and novellas. I learned that that’s what a writer does. They make things up, all kinds of things. At a very young age, I picked up that belief and still carry it to this day. Not every story, novel, or poem comes out perfect, nor are they imperfect. Each has its audience, large or small, and it’s not for me to say which. It’s only for me to write the piece. And I do.

Recently, a friend said that writer’s block isn’t about what I think it is at all. That what a writer is really saying is that they’ve gotten their characters into a situation they can’t get them out of. And, that the writer just doesn’t know how to help them.

I wasn’t sure what to say, because sometimes characters don’t come out alive. Sometimes the ending isn’t happy, isn’t tied up perfectly. No life is. And if a writer is pushing the story, then no wonder it doesn’t work. If a writer wants to “know how to help” the characters, then perhaps they’re trying to control too much of the story. So, the story isn’t really blocked, just the plan the writer has for the story. Well, I let my characters take care of themselves, and you know what? They do.

Ten Months In WonderlandTerry Persun writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy. He is a Pushcart nominee. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. His novels, “Wolf’s Rite” and “Cathedral of Dreams” were ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists in the science fiction category, and his novel “Sweet Song” won a Silver IPPY Award. His latest science fiction space opera is, “Hear No Evil”, his latest fantasy is “Doublesight”, his latest mainstream/literary novel is “Ten Months in Wonderland”.

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Filed under Terry Persun, Writing & Editing

One response to “Writer’s Block

  1. Pingback: Fiction and Poetry: a Writer's Guide to Literary Excellence | Publishing FAQ

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