Writer’s block

I have said for years and years that there are fundamentally two kinds of writer’s block:

a) The author is blocked because they have gone in the wrong direction in their novel or are experiencing some other problem of that kind. All sorts of effective measures can be taken to deal with the writer’s block. If the one project can’t be unblocked, the writer can go on with a different project.

b) The author is clinically depressed. Nothing will help except treatment of the depression.

Therefore (as I have said over and over), it is wrong to assume that all episodes of writer’s block will be fixable with stern discipline and proper outlining, or whatever various but similar cures are suggested in the innumerable posts about how Writer’s Block Is Really Self Indulgence.

So I’m glad to see this post: New Treatment for Writers’ Block

He explained a therapy called TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) that has been developed for people who suffer from depression and anxiety, a treatment that doesn’t require medication but instead stimulates the brain using magnetic waves.What intrigued me about TMS is that it was also being used elsewhere. Interestingly, the treatment has proven helpful for writers who suffer from classic “writers’ block.”

an award-winning author who spoke to our Apex group mentioned that he had received TMS treatments to help with writers’ block. He said, “After getting the treatment, I wrote three books in the next six months. That’s never happened to me before. I just don’t write that fast.”

I don’t actually want to write three books per six months. That sounds very nearly as obsessive as the experience of writing Tuyo. But if I suffered from writer’s block and had any feeling that it was actually a sign of clinical depression, I would look into this.

Now, that was by no means related to why I was stuck with Invictus. That problem was 100% due to failures in plotting, as is obvious from the way the story instantly got unstuck when I thought about it the right way. A whole lot of writer’s block results from problems with plotting or whatever. Still, I’m glad these people are developing this treatment and I hope it helps those writers who try it.

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4 thoughts on “Writer’s block”

  1. Sounds a bit like taking small doses of hallucinogens, which apparently also can relieve depression. Even witch doctors have to be right some of the time, after all.

  2. I don’t know; I’ve heard of this for depression, but I don’t know much about it. … Hallucinogens, really? I would feel much weirder about taking small doses of hallucinogens, that’s for sure!

  3. The idea is you take hallucinogens once or twice in a controlled environment. Apparently TMS is also something you do a very few (6?) times before stopping. It’s less like the usual drugs where use is intended to be chronic.
    If I were forced to guess I’d say both techniques work by opening up new neural pathways: one by reducing chemical potential barriers; the other by direct stimulation. But that hypothesis is not remotely established by anyone, anywhere.
    That said, it is well established that depressed brains have less neural activity than healthy ones.

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

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