My claim was that us writers can overcome writer's block if we choose to. I blamed mostly laziness, I believe.
Two days ago, I also wrote about hypergraphia, the drive to write compulsively. When I quoted the definition, I left out the last sentence and promised to explain later.
Here's a refresher, with the last sentence this time:
Hypergraphia - The driving compulsion to write; the overwhelming urge to write […] the opposite of writer's block.
Lo and behold - writer's block as a disorder. Actually, writer's block isn't an illness, or an actual, real, neurological disorder like hypergraphia, yet, its causes might still be biochemical.
There may be two types of writer's block - low and high energy relating to depression and anxiety respectively.
Depression, known to afflict writers at a higher rate than the general population, can also mimic mild frontal lobe damage or change, hence the biochemical roots.
Since it is known that depression causes lack of motivation, initiative and energy, as well any decision making capabilities and emotionally drain the person, rather than staying at a desk full of self criticism, interruptions might be welcome to combat this type of writer's block.
This kind of depression is also usually treatable. Not only that, it is more often than not also bipolar and the writing happens at the other end of the depression. And I'll leave that at that.
Anxiety is the other trigger of writer's block and the one that personally I believe I may suffer from on occasion.
How anxious one is, is usually in direct relation to the size and importance of the project. Anxiety, almost like stage fright, can cause too much or too little motivation, both possible sources of blocks. Guilt only makes it worse, by the way, and procrastination is the major symptom.
Another symptom of anxiety-induced writer's block is the ability to write one type/genre, say, blog posts, while being blocked for another, say current novel wip. Outlines and brainstorming can help against such a writer's block but one shouldn't neglect other possible causes that may affect the mental state such as proper lighting in the winter etc.
And procrastination? What do we do about that? One way to battle procrastination caused by anxiety is to think of another project, bigger, more demanding and frightening. The idea is to trigger anxiety that working back on your original project you avoided would be a way to procrastinate that new big one. Your original project becomes the fun project, the one you waste time with and avoid deadlines, the one that's easier to work on. Apparently it works.
Finally, it is a fact that talented writers are more likely to be blocked than poor writers. So if you're blocked often, you must be real talented...
New York Times
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Categories: writing, process, block