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This came up in a class discussion recently about students being afraid to write. Someone said it may be due to writer’s block, a common problem even for native speakers, and I had to sit back and think, did I believe it was true or not?
Of course I am going to say that it’s not true for me….(as you can see), I seem to be able to write about anything – give me a title or topic and I’ll have an opinion on it. But saying that, I am old enough to not care what people think of my opinions, and so are willing to speak, and also I don’t have a problem putting things down on paper…..for some reason I like it. By the way I also like to talk….so now there’s an interesting point too.
My thoughts on writer’s block come from the last point there. If I have no problem speaking or talking about something I can usually write about it too. I don’t ever have speakers-block!
So, writer’s block seems to come down to three things:
- Not having anything to say
- Not feeling confident that you can spell or form sentences that are grammatically correct
- Too lazy to pick up a pen or go onto a computer.
The second one is definitely true for ESL learners. They are often aware that when someone speaks, there are lots of pauses and grammatically incorrect turns of phrase that are acceptable, but getting it down on paper means it’s there for life! So, I can appreciate that one, but that doesn’t necessarily relate to the native speaker who should know this kind of thing.
So my final analysis of writers block (in a nutshell that is!) is that it will tend to come down to either number one or number three. Writer’s block means you can’t create a thought in your mind because it is either not forming because you don’t have an opinion on it, or you just can’t be bothered to think that deeply.
If you simply must write, I’d say, drop the pen or move away from the computer, take a walk, watch a movie or talk with a friend…sometimes simply getting your head out of the space it’s in by changing the environment or topic is the best thing. Thinking too deeply about writer’s block makes it even worse.
Love to know what your thoughts are on this too….do you often suffer from writer’s block? If so how do you get over it.