Alexander Chee on Overcoming Writers Block

This excellent article presents a very interesting – and new – way of regarding that old bad boy of writing – Writers Block.


by Alexander Chee

Ideal with writers’ block several times a year, usually in the form of other people’s writers’ block. Specifically, I find myself every year with a few students trying and failing to write their stories for class. Teaching creative writing inside of a liberal arts institution means putting creativity on a clock — the quarter or semester — and over the 25 years I’ve been teaching writing, I’ve learned my blocked students are usually high-achieving young people who are used to being able to power their way through a paper, get the answers, get the grade and move on. Fiction writing doesn’t really work that way.

That said, we know clocks can work. To wit: the number of people who say they thrive on a deadline.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice I ever received on the topic came to me wrongly attributed to Joyce Carol Oates. I even finally checked the quote with her and she kindly replied and said, “That doesn’t sound like me.” In any case, here is the quote, which I think is wise but does not come from her:

The writer stops writing when they believe the idea is fraudulent. When they believe the idea will trick them into making a mistake.

Which brings me to the inspiration for today’s post….

Read it all at Medium.Com