Self Publishing Notebook: Editor’s Block

We’re all familiar with the concept of “writer’s block” – that disease that infects writers who can’t seem to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. I don’t really believe in writer’s block. I mean, I believe that it’s a phrase that people use to describe their inability to write, but I think it’s mostly an excuse for not writing. I’ve said before, the act of writing is the easy part of this process. Just write. If it’s lousy, it’ll get fixed or deleted in the editing process, but please, write something. And if you aren’t writing, but you’re genuinely researching, you are still engaged in the process. And I don’t mean the sort of research that is really procrastination. By genuinely researching, I mean reading a book, scouring the internet for a vital pieces of information, visiting locations that are vital to telling your story, or holed up in a library somewhere looking at rare documents.

Writer’s block typically doesn’t involve sitting for hours staring a blank screen, suffering from lack of inspiration. Writer’s block is cleaning the house, checking email, looking at Facebook, tweeting, watching TV, taking up a new and useless hobby, and doing other things when you should normally write. People who teach writing always say, “Make a specific time to write,” and that’s great advice, because otherwise you don’t even know when you’re not getting the job done. For me, every day that I don’t write is a day I fell off the wagon – and there are plenty. If I can get just 30 minutes done, I’m happy. If I’m correct (and in my column, I am) and writer’s block doesn’t exist, there is still more serious ailment lurking out there. Editor’s block.

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