Most people think of writer’s block as a wall. They say, “I’ve hit a wall.”


It is ridiculous and counterproductive to think of writer’s block as some large concrete and bare wall that you must surmount in order to continue writing.

Instead, think of writer’s block as a hedgerow or a field of tall grass.

In the case of the hedgerow, it may take effort — certainly more effort than simply walking forward unimpeded, writing as you would when you are truly in your stride — but it does not need to be climbed. A hedge doesn’t even block your view of whatever is on the other side. A hedgerow only prettily divides one stretch of land from another. Push through. Hop over. A hedge is a moveable thing (and very satisfying to shape or destroy with a chainsaw).

In the case of the tall grass, imagine that the momentum you have been experiencing is a long field of mowed grass. It’s easy to stroll along or run, if you like. You can see where you’re going, where you are, and where you’ve been. And because you can see so clearly, you will perceive the patch of tall, unmowed grass in your path ahead. We all know that the momentum that comes with a fresh idea will fade with time. Acknowledge that the tall grass is there, just waiting for you to arrive. Notice it, accept it, and realize that, while tall grass may slow you down and make it more difficult to see what is underfoot, it is relatively painless to pick up your feet a bit more and clamber on. Eventually, you’ll reach the other side — you’ll hit another stride. It’s there, just keep wading through. If you have to go back and mow that tall grass later, so be it. At least you’ve soldiered on despite the threat of the unknown (see Jurassic Park for the dangers of tall grass).

Thinking of writer’s block as a wall gives it much more power than it deserves. It is, after all, all in your head. You get to make up the metaphor associated with it, and one of a natural, living thing that can be moved or plodded through or mowed down is always preferable to a tall unfriendly wall imprisoning your creative process.

We hope that you will benefit from these metaphors and remember them the next time you hit a rough patch in your writing.

The Team

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    Personally, I don’t believe in writer’s block but this is an interesting read either way.
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