a necessary stage
As I understand it, B says, the cliche “writer’s block” actually describes the inability to write anything at all. If you have a problem with a plot, she says, you’re not blocked, you are in fact writing; because the maddeningly slow solution of difficult problems in the context of specific pieces of work is part of the process of writing. In B’s opinion, you aren’t blocked in the cliche sense unless you’ve written nothing for several years and can be played by Mickey Rourke. Further, she believes, block is a consequence of being expected to write, or to write again. If you’ve got nothing to say, why bother? Essentially that’s a socio-economic pressure, an argument about who owns and defines writing time. Although it is experienced interiorly, by the writer, that kind of block is actually imposed from outside, by the expectations of the industry. My advice to myself, B says, pouring herself another glass of Merlot, is always: Don’t let your work be problematised from the outside. The real experience of block–being held up by something you don’t yet understand in the work or your assumptions about it or your assumptions about yourself–is perfectly natural; solve it by your own methods in your own time. Block as a necessary stage in writing is simply not block. She empties her glass quickly and holds it up to the light. I never liked Mickey Rourke anyway, she says darkly. Or that whole Hollywood fantasy of the cultural impotent.