Question for the Author

Do You Believe in Writer’s Block?

This is lovely question because it doesn’t actually ask, “Do you suffer from writer’s block?” It doesn’t even say, “Is there such a thing as writer’s block?” Or, even more importantly, “Where should we put the apostrophe in the phrase writer’s block?”

I certainly believe that some writers hit hurdles in their writing, and they attribute the lack of writing to writer’s block. But I’m not always sure writer’s block is the cause.

Sometimes we stop writing a story because we’ve lost interest in the narrative. It’s not so much a block. It’s more a case of, “What’s the point of continuing with this idea?” Sometimes I’ll not be able to write for a week because other commitments such as work, family or binge-watching Drag Race, get in the way of my putting pen to paper. Again, this isn’t a block: it’s just an unfortunate case of writing getting pushed down the priority list. And, there are times when I don’t write because I’m a lazy sod, too busy playing with the dogs or messing about at the gym. Perhaps this is displacement activity that could be described as a symptom of writer’s block. More likely, I’m too easily distracted to be trusted with the responsibility of writing.

But I do believe there are occasional blocks that some writers suffer and these can only be attributed to that horrible condition: writer’s block. Personally, I’m lucky in that my approach doesn’t lend itself to succumbing to the condition. When I get time to write I know which story I’m working on and the direction it should be taking. I have a methodical outline for stories that I’m working on and, when I’m not working on fiction, I can take the time to work on blogging, article-writing and other outlets.

So, my answer is: I do believe in writer’s block, but I don’t believe it’s a condition that strikes every writer. And I think it’s sometimes used as an excuse for procrastination.

More importantly, I worry that apostrophe is being misplaced in the passage above.  If writer’s block is a condition that only affects a single writer, then the single possessive apostrophe is correct.  However, if writer’s block is a condition that can strike more than one writer, then it should have a plural possessive apostrophe and be called: writers’ block.

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