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Author Speaks 2

Is writer's block contagious?

I have writer's block.

Even blogging right now seems like a chore, but I know I need to cope somehow. It's extremely annoying and unsettling, this feeling. You know what you want to say, you're simply unable to make the words come together.

I hate it.

So far, I've done as I always do when I am blocked. I've tried: powering through it, seeking inspiration, taking breaks, free writing, list-making, and acting out scenes from my work, all to no avail. After trying all of that (twice), I did the next best thing; I asked my mom for help. As previously mentioned on the blog, my mother is a writer just like the rest of my family, so she is a reasonable and available source for advice.

So, I went to my mother with the unanswerable question: How do I beat the block?

She told me to stop trying. So, obviously, I ignored her advice and moved on to my dad. He has a much more "method" style of writing, and asked me to outline the entire plot, all the characters, mood, style, and read to him all that I'd had written thus far. Once the hours of explanation and confusion ended I gave him time to digest and he gave me a piece of advice that is the type I'd give to me if I had been asked the-question-which-we-do-not-ask, that being: ask your mother.

So, obviously, I ignored his advice and moved on to my sister. As siblings are more of colleagues than mentors, like parents, I thought whatever she gave me would be more pertinent to my situation. However, she was in the middle of some of her own work and in need of a bit of help herself. She didn't have a full block, she was just unsure of how to phrase a certain sentence and I surprised myself by being of some assistance. Once the matter was settled she told me she had no idea how to break a block. She said it was just something every writer went through, and that I would have to figure my own way out of this psychological malady.

So, obviously, I ignored her advice and moved on to try out my original tactics (again).

It was the next day while I was reading The Outsiders, trying to drum up some inspiration, that I was rudely interrupted by my sister bursting into my room wailing about how I had "given her my writer's block." I was confused, to say the least.

After what had seemed like an eternity of debate we took the argument before the council of esteemed parentals for a final decision on the matter. Is writer's block contagious? I had assured myself that of course, it wasn't, only to be completely thrown for a loop to find that both my mumsy and dadder sided with the sibling.

I hated that as well.

My mom went on to describe writer's block as "alike hypochondria." Once you believe that you can't write; you can't write. She said that I had snuck the idea of inabilities and blocks into my sister's head and they burrowed their way deep into her subconscious and claimed sanctuary.

In conclusion, if the question is "Is writer's block contagious?" then the answer is yes, it can be. But, if the question is "How do you beat the block?" I don't know, and I don't think I ever will. You will get writer's block. You will try everything (twice), and you will still have it. You'll beat yourself up, and discourage yourself, maybe even others.

But hopefully, after your tremendous battle with the block, the dust will settle, and a hush shall fall over the anxious crowd of the spectators. You will rise from your knees having slain that demonic creature. You will be bruised and battered but your will shall remain untouched. You will take the head of that beast in one hand, and with a swift swing of your sword you will behead the hideous thing and stab it onto a pike like Vlad the Impaler before you mount your steed for a well-deserved literary ride off into the sunset. (Ya know, metaphorically.)

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