It’s time we set the record straight on writer’s block. The purpose of this week’s semi-regular treatise is to announce banishment of the phrase from my vocabulary.
Honestly, I’m a little nervous about severing all ties with the concept. For years, it’s served me well as a reliable excuse for not being more productive in my writing.
But, it has to go.
Mind you, I’m not arguing that writer’s block does not exist. Perhaps Edgar Allan Poe occasionally suffered from writer’s block (among other maladies!). Or Kurt Vonnegut. Probably even [insert your favorite writer here.] The problem with acknowledging writer’s block, for some of us, is that it serves as a too-convenient excuse for not writing. Make no mistake – writing is hard work. It’s no wonder we put it off. But I’m not sure the block is so much a “writing” thing as a “human being” thing.
Don’t we all occasionally block out those things we don’t want to deal with? As some of you know, I have procrastinated in cleaning my office for several years now. Sorry – I’ve been meaning to get to it. The problem is, it’s a big job and I’m not sure where to start. Could I be suffering from office cleaner’s block? Uh, no…
For me, dispensing with the concept of writer’s block is an honest realization that writing is hard and is probably always going to be. Yet, write we must. Frankly, there is too much confusion and misinformation surrounding food, agricultural and environmental issues today for us not to communicate with others about it. That is, in fact, what agricultural communicators do! While all forms of communication have their place, the written word still represents one of the best ways to tell our story.
We must also write for ourselves. Can you think of any other single activity that simultaneously clarifies your thoughts, allows you to express yourself, sharpens your creativity, and supports the First Amendment? If writing is anything, it’s multi-tasking.
I now encourage you to scribble and share your thoughts on the matter. Have you discovered any techniques to help tap creative energy and crack writer’s block? I’d like to hear about your writing experiences, good or bad, and I think other readers would, too.
Meantime, if you’ll excuse me, I really must tidy up this office.
~ Mark Tucker, Coordinator, Agricultural Communication