Monday, 1 December 2014

On Writer's Block

The repairman looked sadly at my inert washing machine, shaking his head slowly.

"Can't you fix it?" I asked, thinking with alarm about the cost of a replacement.

"Sorry. I can't."

"What's wrong with it," I asked. "Has the motor burned out?"

"Well, see, I've got Repairman's Block. So I just can't, you know, fix anything at the moment."

At this point I lost my temper.

"You fucking retard," I shouted. "You're charging me $75 per fifteen minutes for a service call and you won't fix it? You fix my washing machine RIGHT NOW or I'm calling your boss."

I went to work, but sitting at my desk I found any desire to work had left me. "Where are the Johnstone contracts," my boss asked me. "Sorry, Mr Finkelstein," I told him. I haven't drafted them yet. I've got Lawyer's Block."

"Oh, you poor thing," he sympathised. "You'd better take the rest of the week off and go to the beach. Perhaps the sights and sounds of nature will inspire you."

When I returned from the city, I found my house had been broken into and all my jewellery stolen. I rang up the police.

"Sorry, Ma'am," said the desk sergeant. "I can't help you today. I've got Policeman's Block."

Of course, the above conversations never really happened. But they ought to illustrate the amazing fatuity of so-called 'Writer's Block'.

Writing, if you choose to make it your job, is a job. It's work. An activity that you do, day after day, in order to obtain some reward. You do not get to sit in a corner and whine that your 'muse' has deserted you or that you are 'blocked'. What you need to do is get over yourself and get on with your work.

If you haven't chosen to make writing your job, then it is a hobby, and you've no business whining if you don't feel like playing with your hobby that day. No one cares if you don't fancy playing golf or tennis on any particular day, and no one cares if you don't feel like writing. Again, you need to get over yourself.

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