by Rebecca Light
The October Lit Mingle carried out its own Halloween tradition by discussing something truly scary—writer’s block. We began our circle of introductions with where we found ourselves on the spectrum of writer’s block—a “1” being the magical unicorns who never experience writer’s block, and a “10” being the extreme sufferers. The group landed all over the spectrum. What we discovered through this exercise was that we have varying definitions of writer’s block.
For some, writer’s block represents the time-honored experience of staring at a blank page; for others it can be the frustration of not knowing where your story goes next. One mingler shared notes from a blog by Mary Robinette Kowal, who broke down the concept into four categories: drowsy, staring, restless, and dithering.
Writer’s block can be external (the story presents the challenge) or internal (something going on with you presents the challenge). While the former is a frustrating aspect of the writing process, many of us identified with the latter being an all-too-common foe.
An interesting discussion sprung out of a quote shared from The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield:
“Because when we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist in our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose.”
There’s no universal fix for writer’s block or the fears that accompany any artistic endeavor, but remember—the pen is mightier than the sword. Keep writing.