Snoopy, the famous dog, of Peanuts renown and brilliant creation of Charles M. Schulz, was famous, among many reasons, in particular for his writer’s block. Who hasn’t giggled understandingly at the quizzical look on Snoopy’s face wondering what to write after his famous opening line “It was a dark and stormy night …” as he set out upon the writing of his novel perched upon his doghouse roof with his miniature typewriter?
We laugh because we so understand the moment. It’s a moment that has happened to each of us as we set upon a creative task. It is a problem of great renown for writers and creators the world over. For most it’s very real and very much a mystery. “Why, when I so want to create, does nothing come? Where is the muse? On vacation? How do I get started?
Well, I’m here to tell ya’ that if you’ve suffered from this before, your problems are now over because writer’s block is simply not real. It’s nothing more than a misunderstanding of the creative process.
A dear friend wrote me just the other day seeking help on just such a thing only he called it “writer’s cramp”. No matter what you call it, cramp, block or just creative anxiety, it’s all the same big nothing.
Wikipedia states, “Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. Throughout history writer’s block has been a documented problem. Professionals who have struggled with the affliction include author F. Scott Fitzgerald and pop culture cartoonist Charles M. Schulz.It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite. “
Interesting that Charles M. Schulz is one of the famous sufferers.
Causes: Again from Wiki, “Writer’s block may have many or several causes. Some are essentially creative problems that originate within an author’s work itself. A writer may run out of inspiration. The writer may be greatly distracted and feel he or she may have something that needs to be done beforehand. A project may be fundamentally misconceived, or beyond the author’s experience or ability.”
I say, “Bah!” (more…)