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Climbing Atop the Block

posted Nov 12, 2017, 10:57 AM by William Whitlock   [ updated Jan 28, 2018, 2:48 PM by Daniel Pieczkolon ]
Writer’s block is a common issue, and one that is frequently visited by writers from almost any background, but it is still a problematic plague that sometimes just does not wish to be overcome. I don’t claim to have found any sort of panacea, but I can say that I’ve found a few ways to work around writer’s block, at least the majority of the time.

The first time I suffered extremely from this affliction, it was at a writing conference I attended in high school, hosted by Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. All of the young creative writers at this conference would, at the end of our two-week writing pilgrimage, receive a rather hefty anthology containing works by all of our peers, written in the time that we spent there. As luck would have it, I had nothing.

The deadline approached, and my panic and feelings of inadequacy grew with every moment that brought me closer to the final submission deadline. Finally, in a fit of desperation, I just took a few blank pages, I put a pen to them, and I finally figured out the importance of our workshop’s motto for those two weeks: Write hard, die free.

I scribbled out a few words, not caring if the poems were good, if the lines made any sense. In about an hour, I had written four poems, most of which were bad, but the last one was salvageable. Since then, this has been my go-to method for dealing with such problems. No matter what you write, just write. Give yourself permission to be awful. That’s the truest way to take risks and find art.