Are You Getting Blocked?

 “There is always, of course, that terrible three weeks, or a month, which you have to get through when you are trying to gScreen Shot 2020-09-19 at 11.11.27 PMet started on a book. There is no agony like it. You sit in a room, biting pencils, looking at a typewriter, walking about, or casting yourself down on a sofa, feeling you want to cry your head off . . . .”
Agatha Christie

A researcher at the University of Pennsylvania has a nice bit of advice for finding a frame of mind that could help you dig out of the rut.

Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist who is the scientific director of the Imagination Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-author of “Wired to Create,” says, “When one feels writer’s block, it’s good to just keep putting things down on paper—ideas, knowledge, etc.” In 2009, Kaufman co-edited a volume called “The Psychology of Creative Writing”; during that process, he became convinced that allowing for error—and realizing how nonlinear a process creativity can be—was an essential step for overcoming blocks in writing. “I think one must trust the writing process. Understand that creativity requires nonlinearity and unique associative combinations,” he says. “Creative people do a lot of trial and error and rarely know where they are going exactly until they get there.”

This passage is from a short piece on the history of psychological research into writer’s block. It’s on the New Yorker website. Highly recommended.

 

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