From NYT bestseller and former writing professor Dave Farland:
Some authors never get “Writer’s Block,” and they don’t believe that it exists. They’ll blithely say, “Do doctors ever get ‘Doctor’s block,’ or do plumbers ever get ‘plumber’s block’?” and they think that they’ve just scored a point.
If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have told you much the same.
The truth is, doctors do get doctor’s block. Plumbers do get plumber’s block. It’s just that only writers have been smart enough to give the problem a name.
Think about it. Have you ever known someone who didn’t like their work environment, so they just got up and quit from a job that perhaps they had loved a year before? It’s a huge problem. I’ve worked as a manager in a number of businesses and believe me, employee retention is a big problem for management. So we have to make sure that the employees know that we care about them, that they’re properly reimbursed for their time, talents, and expertise, and that they’re given a nice work environment.
Right now, in my online writing workshops at www.mystorydoctor.com, I’m training a number of professionals with high-paying jobs that they were probably once happy with—lawyers, doctors, dentists, pilots, government officials, and execs in Fortune 500 companies. But all of them have decided that they would rather write.
But being a writer can be a tough job. If you’re starting out, early in your career you probably don’t get much in the way of benefits. Instead of praise from fans, you get torn apart by the critics in your writing group. Instead of a pleasant office, you may be writing in a dusty cellar. Instead of big paychecks, your first stories might be paid in copies of the small-press magazine that you just got published in.
. . . .
Several years ago, an agent called and asked me to hurry up and get a book turned in—the last novel in my Runelords series. Now, I’m going to be honest here. He called at a very bad time. I had gone to Oregon to take care of my mother, who was dying. I had literally been holding her hand, trying to comfort her, when my agent called. You can imagine that I wasn’t in a great mood to write.
On the phone my agent relayed a threatening message from my editor—one that I found outrageous. I thought about calling my publisher and demanding a new editor. I thought about just quitting my work with the publisher altogether.
In short, I became blocked on that project.
I tried working on it over and over again, but each time that I did I felt . . . confused. I couldn’t focus. I began to worry that I was getting Alzheimer disease, or something else. So I began taking vitamins and exercising, trying to get back on track.
Each time that I tried to write on that project, I also found myself getting angry all over again and feeling a keen sense of despair.
. . . .
People are most often blocked by negative criticism. The criticism might come from literary critics, from writers in a writing group, from editors, from random terrorists posting on Amazon.com, from family members or friends, or even a thought that flashes through the back of a writer’s own mind.
Some writers get anxious. They set unrealistic deadlines for themselves, or they feel undue pressure with their work. They may worry about tough critics or the possibility of bad reviews—or they might worry that they’ll actually succeed. And those worries block the creative process.
Link to the rest at David Farland
Here’s a link to David Farland’s books