Writer’s block is a condition, associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses
the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary
difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some “blocked” writers have been unable to work
for years on end, and some have even abandoned their careers. It can manifest as the affected writer viewing their
work as inferior or unsuitable, when in fact it could be the opposite.
Writers block may have many causes. Some are essentially creative problems that originate
within an author’s work itself. A writer may run out of inspiration. The writer may be greatly distracted and feel
they may have something that needs to be done before hand. A project may be fundamentally misconceived, or beyond
the author’s experience or ability.
A fictional example can be found in George Orwell’s novel Keep The Aspidistra Flying, in which
the hero Gordon Comstock struggles in vain to complete an epic poem describing a day in London: “It was too big for
him, that was the truth. It had never really progressed, it had simply fallen apart into a series of
Other blocks, especially the more serious kind, may be produced by adverse circumstances in a
writer’s life or career: physical illness, depression, the end of a relationship, financial pressures, a sense of
failure. The pressure to produce work may in itself contribute to a writer’s block, especially if they are
compelled to work in ways that are against their natural inclination, too fast or in some unsuitable style or
In some cases, writer’s block may also come from feeling intimidated by a previous big success,
the creator putting on themselves a paralyzing pressure to find something to equate that same success again.
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