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Archive for September 12th, 2006

What would be an appropriate definition of writer’s block? Well, most of us have experienced it at one time or another. While in this context it is associated with the act of writing, I think anyone who works in a creative field can experience a block in their performance whether it be artists, musicians, actors or even public speakers.

An analysis of this block outside and within writing reveals that it has to do with feeling uninspired i.e. losing creative energy.

We feel that we’ve lost our creativity or inspiration. Of course, this is only a temporary condition like stage fright. Once you regain composure, you realize this also will pass.

So how do you overcome writer’s block. These strategies may also prove useful to people in other fields.

Strategies for Overcoming Writer’s Block:

  • Take a break, go for a walk, breathe deeply, relax, meditate or any other activity that you enjoy
  • Do something different that will give you new experience and help you regain your creative understanding through a new perspective
  • Leave the writing for couple of days
  • Continue to write whatever comes to mind, you can always revise your ideas later

Interesting “writer’s” block features prominently in a in a few of the following movies:

SecretWindow (based on a novel by Stephen King) stars Johnny Depp as Mort Rainey, a successful writer who deals with his writer’s block by isolating himself at a lakeside cabin. I won’t spoil the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it but I certainly hope none of us deals with our writer’s block the way Mort does by the end of the movie.

Johnny Depp in Secret Window
Johnny Depp as Mort Rainey

In 8 1/2, a 1963 film directed by Federico Fellini, we have Guido Anselmi suffering from 8 1/2director’s block. He loses interest in his movie due to marriage problems.

The film is available in the Criterion Collection of costly but fine films. So even directors suffer from this condition. 🙂

 

 

Shakespeare in Love (1998) features young William Shakespeare played by JosephShakespeare Fiennes, who suffers from, yes you guessed it…playwriter’s block.

Of course, the movie is a dramatization, we don’t know if the real Wil suffered from it. It’s a movie with an intelligent plot, which is rare to find in the romantic comedy genre.

 

Throw Mama from the Train is a black comedy that features Billy Crystal as Larry Throw Mama from the TrainDonner, a struggling writer who teaches creative writing course at a community college.

He blames his ex-wife, Margaret, for stealing his idea for a book. Her book becomes a great success and Larry’s anger keeps him stuck in writer’s block.

 

 

 

Despite its low sales, I liked Wonder Boys when I watched it a few years after its release Wonder Boysin 2000. Michael Douglas stars as Grady Tripp, a very likeable Professor, whose third wife has left him and he is unable to repeat the success of his first novel.

The more he tries to finish, the less happy he is with the ending. His novel runs into several thousand pages and it’s still not finished.

In his case, the writer’s block stems from wanting to find a satisfactory elusive ending.

 

Well, now you know from the few movies cited that your writer’s block is something that even Hollywood finds interesting. So just relax and know your creativity will return at the right time. Until then, make writer’s block your friend. It’s asking you to take a well deserved break from your writing. Good friends always let you know when you’re working too hard. That’s why your friend, let’s call him WB for short, asks you to chill, relax and have fun.

Why struggle with a friend who only wants to help you?

 

 

 

 

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