Writer's Block

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Just The Facts

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But Seriously...

We're not actually going to post a topic page on Writer's Block that doesn't say anything. That kind of sad, predictable attempt at cleverness is the sort of thing you might see from someone...well, with Writer's Block.

Writer's Block is the inability to write, plain and simple. The author can't think of a good idea, or what happens next in the story, or what adjective to use to describe something important. It can take many forms and they are all extremely frustrating to the afflicted writer.

For most people it's no big deal. You just go do something else for a while, and the next day you return to the project with a fresh mind.

For professional writers, however, the constant tick-tock of deadlines and the pressure to constantly produce more and better material can make Writer's Block a truly crushing affliction. It can last for days, months, even years, and in the interim a writer's whole career could shrivel up and blow away like a leaf in autumn (good simile, right? go ahead and use that if you need one).

Autumn and literature go together like PCP and bad decisions.

Autumn and literature go together like PCP and bad decisions.

Writing Bad Stuff

Writing bad stuff has often been considered a good cure for writer's block. A cleansing, if you will. The idea is that you just need to get the brain and fingers moving together again, and eventually something good will come out. All the shit you write in the meantime can just be thrown away, or maybe sold later once the good writing makes you so famous that no one even cares if you're talented anymore.

that means you, Stephen King.

That means you, Stephen King.

But sometimes writer's don't have the luxury of just writing until they get something they like. Sometimes they have to publish NOW. There are deadlines, angry editors, and paychecks that depend on words being delivered. It's at times like this that professional writers are often forced, reluctantly, to publish work that is, shall we say...sub-par. For evidence of this phenomenon, check out Near Misses: The 9 Worst Films Hollywood Almost Made, Rhyme Crime: The 20 Worst Rhymes in Pop Music History, or The Top 5 Worst Lines of Dialogue (From Movies That Don't Actually Suck).

Of course, a lot of those might not be the result of Writer's Block. They could just be untalented people.

Plagiarism

Plagiarism is when you steal someone else's writing or other creative work and claim it as your own. This happens in the professional world with a depressing level of regularity and goes un-punished even more often than it goes un-detected.

Writer's Block can cause people to plagiarize just like starvation can cause people to steal food. The only difference is that stealing food is understandable because it's necessary to live. Stealing writing is just plain horrible.

If you're looking for some people to respect less, read 5 Great Men Who Built Their Careers on Plagiarism.