The Myth of Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is a myth perpetuated by people who don’t really want to write.

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And I really don’t like when people ask me if I ever “get it,” as if it’s contagious. In some ways, I think it is. People talk about it too much and infect others with their ideas of this mysterious and loathsome “writer’s block.”

Maybe I’m thinking of the block all wrong. I’m not sure at all what it means. Does it mean the person can’t sit in a chair and write? Are their hands broken? Is their brain injured? Or does it mean they can’t write as well as they want? Does it mean that writing’s not easy?

Hey – wait – let’s hold on to that one: Writing is not easy?!

Of course, at times, it’s not easy! Sometimes the scene isn’t quite right or the dialogue is inauthentic or the words aren’t laying out as smooth and beautiful as we’d like. Does that mean we lay down the ivory pipe, get up from our Italian baroque seventeenth century carved desk, retire our gray wool writing jacket with the patches on the elbows, and lounge for the rest of the day waiting for this “block” to pass?

None of it’s real!Writers-Block-is-a-Lie

The desk, the jacket, or the block – these are images people use to perpetuate the myth that writing is some magical gift that is laid down upon us and is taken away just as easily.

I’m not saying the ability to ribbon words rhythmically and meaningfully isn’t a gift – but it is work.

Now there’s the word we need to use. The only thing, perhaps, people are being blocked from is WORK.

A writer needs time. The lack of time can inhibit starting or finishing – but we make time. Many writers (Vonnegut, Angelou) woke up early.  I used to be one of those people who said – oh, no, I need my sleep. But then I decided I wanted to write more than I needed extra sleep. Writers, for centuries, have had no choice but to get up early or stay up late in order to produce.

And there’s that word again. Work. Let’s get to it, ladies and gentlemen, no matter how gifted you are, writing is work, writing is commitment. And there’s the other word so many people are afraid of: commitment.

If you want to be a writer it takes work and it takes commitment. The real work of writing is to commit yourself to it, to sit your ass in that chair, at that desk, or dining table, or in the corner closet, and write. Sometimes nothing is going to come out right. And that’s when you keep working, or you take a break, go grab a cuppa and get back to it. Writer’s commit themselves to time and action, whether it’s one hour a day or eight hours a day. And sometimes things come out well and sometimes they’re a struggle.

plumbers block

 

Imagine writing as a job. If you want to be successful, can you give up the moment it gets challenging?  Can you imagine your plumber calling you and saying, “I just can’t come today, I have plumber’s block”?

 

 

 

If something you’ve started has stunted, write something else, take it in a different direction, write an angry letter to one of the characters insisting they do what you want them to, then let them write one to you.

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Let’s be honest about what writer’s block really is –

  • it’s procrastination;
  • it’s distraction; 
  • it’s fear of rejection.

 

I do believe people go through periods where they’re not as productive, or they have some psychological issues blocking them from releasing their ideas. These problems can be solved – therapy.

beautiful journalist looks typewriterIf you want to take part in the myth – “oh I can’t write today!”

If you want to perpetuate the myth – “What do you do when you get blocked?”

That’s fine. However, Do not bring your kind of negativity to me – “Do you ever get blocked?” Because I don’t want to hear it; I don’t want to be a part of it; and I certainly don’t want you attempting to infect me with your dis-ease.

 

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Now – sit that ass in that chair and WRITE something. 😉 Good luck. 

 

Dark Times and Edgar Allan Poe – What more can a girl ask for?

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Was asked by the lovely crew from SuperNews Live to come down and have a chat about Edgar Allan Poe on their show Dark Times!

You can see the whole interview here.

 

Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Mr Poe

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The Poe Museum is having a 208th Birthday Party for Edgar Allan Poe. I went two years ago, and wish I were there again this year.  I’ve also wanted to make it to Baltimore for their celebration, but have not yet. Maybe next year.

To celebrate his birthday, I’m posting links to two of my best posts about Poe. The first was a pictorial essay in Poe’s footsteps, when I visited Richmond and the Museum.

The second is 4 Fast Facts that I bet you didn’t know.

 

Enjoy!

Free book?

 

poe party

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

My book of short stories should be out in another month – I’ll have two advance copies to give away.

There will be a very easy one question contest, and then a drawing (done by a third party) from all of the correct answers.

The official announcement and contest will begin in the next few weeks – keep checking back or sign up to receive updates!

Thanks,

Noreen

Apro-Poe

Happy Birthday, Mr. Poe!

To one of the first, authentically American literary voices. Inspiration, then and now, for artists, writers, creators.

Maybe I should have dedicated my book to him – posthumously – that is.

But I think it is some sort of fancy coincidence, fate, luck, whatever you want to call it – that my book, West End, has been released on this, his 207th Birthday.

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West End has been “officially” released. I’m told it won’t be in bookstores – online or in person – for 3-5 days.  OH THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART (yes, I think Tom Petty liked Poe too!)

The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe

220px-EAPoePortrait-Osgood

Jane Craig Stanton

A mother one of his friends who encouraged his poetry, he described her as his first “soul love.”

 

Elmira Royster

She was the daughter of a wealthy businessman who didn’t appreciate Edgar; When Poe went off to college, her father kept all his letters from her. When Edgar came back to town, her father scurried her off to the countryside so they couldn’t see one another. By the time Edgar returned from college for good, she was betrowed to someone else.

 

Virginia Clemm

His cousin whom he met when she was thirteen. They married later, and seemed to have a relationship that rivaled the best storybook romances until her death.

Learned Virginia portrait

 

Mrs. Whitman.

He was engaged to her for a short time, as they respected each other’s work.

 

Elmira Royster

Widowed and free – Edgar sought her out and romanced her again. They were engaged when he died.

edgar-allan-elmira-royster-shelton

Let’s talk about Legacy

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Today is the 166st anniversary of Poe’s Death

      One of the most valuable things on this planet, to me, is leaving your mark, affecting others, effecting change – making a difference, somehow, someway, to someone.

   Edgar Allan Poe affected all of our lives by those he inspired. He inspired artists, musicians, authors, and others.

   Poe wrote one of the first published detective stories, The Murders in the Rue Morgue.  Inspired by the character Dupin, Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes.  Sherlock Holmes studied, differentiated, analyzed evidence to solve crimes.  Prior to Holmes, the study of evidence at crime scenes was elementary, limited. The science of forensics was inspired by Sherlock Holmes stories.

    Forensics, as we know it today, was developed over a long time, inspired by writers who were inspired by others, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and his ability to focus in on details that others glossed over.  Poe left a very big mark on our society.