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Sit Down, Shut Up, and Write! Message Board Honing your craft › an essay on writer's block

an essay on writer's block

Clay W.
c2xw
Austin, TX
Post #: 44
Writer’s Block is a myth, a chimera. It is a bogeyman spoken of around the fire by deluded writers too afraid to deal with the bitter truth. Writer’s block is not the departure of the muse. Because writing itself is a con, it’s a bait and switch and the muse is a slut who skipped town at dawn the night after you slept with her. Why would she stick with you? There are rock stars out there and writing is just hard goddamn work. Mental ditch digging. Anyone who ever used a shovel and hit a rock along the way knows what I mean. Writer’s block is not an obstacle to writing. Writer’s block is writing. When you stare at the wall, you are looking at the very spot through which the muse exited. She went that-a-way. Through the sheet rock. And she was laughing. Laughing at you for believing the lie. The life of the mind… Ha ha ha. Writing is staring at walls, banging your head into them, feeling stupid and useless and facing a life in which you will always fall short. Fear, anxiety and inadequacy are your cohorts. They are the weight you feel on your shoulder as you sit there staring. The joke of it is: get up from your seat and you have stopped writing. Do you really think you are writing when your hands are flying across the keys, when it feels like a symphony is rising before your eyes? Ha ha ha. Writing is a one man chain gang. Writing happens when you stare at that wall and wonder why you are so useless. Writing is doing the time harder than the time is doing you. So get your game face on, crybabies. Your sorry crooked ditch just uncovered a block.

- Brian Helgeland, screenwriter MAN ON FIRE, THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123, PAYBACK, ROBIN HOOD, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, MYSTIC RIVER, A KNIGHT’S TALE
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