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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Insecurity of the Writer or that mysterious Writers Block

Writers are an insecure group of people. Even writers who have been published numerous times. There is something about the act of writing that seems to care not about your last book, story, article. The only question for the writer is can you do it again? A lot of people deal with this very real fear by just plowing right  back in and starting something new right away. For other writers they need a break for the vessel to refill. And some people don't start again.

I remember a writers group where someone asked if there was anyone who had not experienced writers block. I raised my hand and was met with expressions of oh come on. I had not experienced writers block at that point. I still haven't, but I have experienced bad writing. I have a theory that you have to write badly for a long time before you write well and I have the boxes of manuscripts to prove it.

Maybe writing is like firing a gun. A lot of times it just misfires. And then sometimes for no reason at all you are dead on target. If you are a novelist then this can be very gratifying because you are not wasting years of your life on bad novels. There is nothing worse that reading your own work and realizing it just doesn't have it and you are better off starting over. It happens more than you like to admit.

That is where the insecurity or fear comes in. Is this thing any good? Will I ever write something good again? Did I write something good before and if so how did I pull it off? Part of the mystery of writing is you are not quite sure how all the rusty wires work. In fact it is better not to look to closely, better to just say a quick prayer, jump off that cliff again, and hope for the best.

William Hazelgrove's latest novel Rocket Man is due out in September.

Books by William Hazelgrove