Writer’s Block

There’s an article in the SMH about writer’s block by Catherine Keenan—which draws a lot from Zachary Leader’s Writer’s Block, which I will superstitiously never read. I mean what if it’s contagious? Anyway the article is full of lots of ace anecdotes, but what I liked best about it was the accompanying illustration:

Simon Letch (Click through on the link and you’ll learn just how dangerous a life illustrators in Australia lead.)

How cool is that?

Now I must get back to my own writing bouyed by yesterday’s excellent news, and last night’s fabulous food and champagne (thank you, Jan & John—you are the best!) and with my ears stoppered against any hint of writerly blockage . . .


  1. sara z on #

    This is fabulous. Because: If writing was once likened to embroidery and tanning hides (in the pre-Romantic era, as this article asserts), it can be again, and how can I be blocked? I mean, I wouldn’t say, “I can’t tan hides today. I’m blocked.” Of course, there is also this: The brutal truth is that it is an ill-regarded job, paying virtually nothing and requiring long solitary hours and isolation. Perhaps in order to keep going one must think of it as something more magnificent that one has no choice but to do. Some truth there, too, I s’pose. Still, I’d rather think of the craft aspect, the hide-tanning, and figure I can just work through it.

  2. Justine on #

    Actually, if you were me (or any of the other world’s laziest human beings) you would be all “I can’t tan hides today. I’m blocked. Having to do actual work makes me all fluttery!” It’d just be a lot harder to get away with:

    “You can’t tan hides today? Well, bugger off then because I’m too blocked to pay you or feed you.”

    Like you, I find it heaps more useful to think of writing as a craft than as a holy calling from on high. It makes it more approachable when it ain’t going well. You can break it down to nuts and bolts, and figure out whether you should be using a monkey wrench, or a hammer, or is it time for the finely sharpened scalpel?

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