Meta Writing

Writer’s block, and also beauty

Two points of view about writing that might seem opposed. I don’t think they are, though.

Ann Patchett:

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think writer’s block is just a myth that was invented by people who either don’t want to work or people who aren’t ready to get an idea down on paper. So if I can’t write, if I’m stuck, it’s because I’m trying to figure something out. The other thing is my husband, who is a doctor, goes to work every single day, and he doesn’t get ‘doctor’s block’. He doesn’t just say, “I don’t have any idea what this patient has, and I’m just gonna go home and lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling and eat popcorn.” Which is what writers do. It’s like we have this built-in ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card going called Writer’s Block. But if you work, you just work, and sooner or later, you’ll get through it.

And The Intern, “on finding beauty again“:

You can’t remember what inspired you to write your novel. It’s a vicious ugly cold-hearted thing and it’s eating you alive. You’re a vicious, ugly, cold-hearted thing too, an evil plumber with a bag full of tools. You couldn’t find the pulse of your novel if you tried. It’s turned into a dead thing—or a thing towards which you’ve become dead.

“Writing is hard work,” you reassure yourself.
“Don’t tell me to take a break,” you snap at your well-meaning loved ones.

You fight your way grimly through the brambles.

Meanwhile, the world goes on lush and sun-filled just outside your field of view.

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