Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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When writer’s block is actually depression

Here is a post at Terrible Minds: When writer’s block is actually depression.

I think this is a very important topic. You so frequently see articles and posts about writer’s block, and so often they tell you to power through writer’s block or tell you that it’s self-indulgence or that it’s a signal you’ve taken a wrong turn in your WIP and you need to stop and reassess.

All those things can be true, but every article or post about writer’s block should acknowledge that serious clinical depression can also result in a look-alike condition that can’t be handled in remotely the same way as any of the problems listed above.

Chuck says: So, you need to be kind to yourself and get the help you need for depression and anxiety — and trust me when I tell you, that help shouldn’t look like the help you’d give to fix writer’s block. The solution for one is not the other, because the problems are literally different. In that case, the block is a symptom of a larger thing — and treating depression like it’s writer’s block?

Well, it’ll just make the block worse.

And the depression, too.

Yes.

This isn’t a problem I have, for which I am very grateful. But I know writers who stall out because of depression, then are unable to assess the problem because depression often interferes with the ability to assess all problems, including itself.

If you’re stuck on one writing project, fine, that’s perfectly normal, lots of things can cause that.

But if you’re stuck on all writing and feeling like all your ideas are terrible and all your sentences are terrible and there’s no way forward and you’re a worthless excuse for a human being as well as a complete fake as an author … that might be time to put your own judgment on hold as probably compromised, and consult with a professional. Probably their judgment will be a good deal kinder, and perhaps they will be able to help.

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1 Comment When writer’s block is actually depression

  1. Mary Catelli

    The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain by Alice W. Flaherty

    It also discusses depression. Interesting book. (Not a guide, except incidentally.)

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