How to Deal with Writer’s Block

ballpoint-pen-and-copy-book Photo credit: Foter.com / CC0 “Songwriters,” said Carole King, “are often plagued with the thing most often known as writer’s block. All writers are. Writers of prose as well. I have found that the key to not being blocked is to not worry about it. Ever. “ Although that advice might seem like a simplistic solution to a complex problem, in fact it’s the one most offered by scores of songwriters. The consensus being that writer’s block is entirely a psychological concept, created in the mind of the songwriter to define a temporary inability to connect with the source of songs. But the truth is that as soon as you label the thing “writer’s block,” you are admitting defeat, suggesting what is temporary is permanent, and thus giving more power to that which stands in your way. Yet the only thing really in your way is you. As soon as you ignore that you are momentarily derailed and conclude instead that you are actually blocked, it becomes impossible to proceed. You’ve built a wall between you and the wellspring of your own creativity. It all stems from the understanding that songwriting comes from a mysterious place, and tapping into that mystery is the ongoing challenge. As Leonard Cohen famously said, “If I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often," a humorously humble way of acknowledging that there is no repeatable method by which we can access the source. But did Cohen ever admit defeat, call “writer’s block” and stop working. No, he simply kept working, always vocal about how slow the process took for him, and explaining it could take him years to finish a song. The only... Sign In to Keep Reading

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