Writer’s Block – A Myth or Reality

Writer’s Block – A Myth or Reality? Guest post of the month by Sitharaam Jayakumar

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First, I would like to thank my dear friend Vartika for inviting me to write a guest post on her very popular blog Vartikasdiary. I am indeed extremely happy to be able to contribute to this widely read blog. She has invited me to post an article on that curse which afflicts writers frequently, the ‘Writer’s Block’. In this article, I will give you a brief insight into what I understand by the writer’s block and my personal experience with this syndrome.

In this context, I would first like to tell you a small story which my school principal, Mr. Sivaramakrishnan, once entertained us within the classroom. I was in the 8th grade at that time. The story goes like this. There was a Maths teacher in a school who was well loved and respected by all the students.

He was an experienced teacher and he could hold the students spell-bound with the way he could explain theorems of Trigonometry or principles of Differential Calculus. But one thing the students noticed was that whenever he was teaching in class, he would frequently stare out of the window and look at a neem tree that was visible through the window.

One fine day he came to the class and began teaching as usual. He then happened to glance through the window. Suddenly something seemed to go completely wrong, and he stopped abruptly. He could not utter a word further. All the Mathematical knowledge that he had imbibed over the years suddenly seemed to have deserted him. He was rendered powerless to speak any further. He muttered something in utter confusion and left the classroom in a hurry.

The students were surprised. One of the brighter and more insightful students went to the window and looked outside. What he saw made him realize what had upset the teacher. He found that the neem tree had been chopped off and only a small piece of its trunk was sticking out of the ground now. The student realized that the brilliant teacher was conditioned to look at the neem tree while teaching and when he saw that the tree had been chopped off, he had experienced a psychological block which had made him unable to carry on.

Well, this was just a story my principal in school entertained us with. It could very well be an urban legend. But though not a tailor-made analogy, this generally explains how a writer’s block usually functions. In the story, what rendered the Math teacher speechless is amply clear. But most often when a writer or some other artist is facing a block, the psychological reason will not stare at him or her on the face.

It would be much subtler, in fact so deeply hidden that he or she would not even be able to recognize its existence. Writer’s block, let me assure you, is not a myth. Now that I have spoken about the mechanics of writer’s block, I would like to take you through my personal experience with it.

To be honest, I began writing only a couple of years ago, and my experience is limited. The first time I experienced writer’s block was when I wrote my first eBook ‘Eighty Hours To Save Karen’. I had written about ten thousand words of the book. Then I started taking stock of how the story was panning out and how I was going to develop the plot further.

I tried to think ahead about the plot and other details. For the life of me, I could not think of anything. I found that I was unable to plan anything. I am by nature a seat of the pants kind of writer who does not plan what he writes. By that, what I mean is I open my laptop and just start typing and never think ahead beforehand. I am more instinctive. I just allow my fingers to dabble on the keyboard.

In this particular instance, after ten days of struggle, I realized that the mistake I was making was in trying to think ahead and clarify the plot in my mind. I then stopped trying to plan. I just opened my laptop and continued typing as usual and within no time I was well on my way.

Sometimes you may also face a block with one particular book you are writing. For example, there is one novella of which I have written eighty-eight pages, and which has been in the back-burner for more than a year. And now, when I try to proceed further with this novella, I find myself at a loss. Do not leave a book unattended to for too long. You will lose the thread of the story and the enthusiasm.

To conclude, a ‘Writer’s Block’ is not a myth. It is generally related to a trigger which you may not even recognize. And the kind of writer you are also makes a difference. If you are a writer like me who does not plan ahead, then stopping to try and think things out leads to a block.

On the other hand, if you are one of those writers who plan well in advance then it is better you stick to that and do not try to write spontaneously. So, the main thing is not to change your style. Sometimes taking a good long break from writing also helps to recover from a psychological block.

I have tried to give an insight into ‘Writer’s Block’ based on my personal experience. Naturally more experienced writers would know better. I hope you enjoyed this article and found it helpful in at least some ways.

About the Author


Sitharaam Jayakumar is an Information Technology professional who has been working in the IT field for the past twenty-seven years. He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi (formerly Institute of Technology, BHU) in 1988 with a B-Tech in Metallurgical Engineering. Joined the IT profession in 1991. A passionate reader of books on both fiction and non-fiction.

He takes a keen interest in sports, especially cricket and tennis. In addition, he is also interested in politics and music. Started writing when a close friend who was deeply impressed by his versatile language urged him to do so. He loves to write about anything that catches his fancy in everyday life. His repertoire includes articles on social issues, crime, women’s empowerment, fiction, and several other topics.

He is the author of two eBooks titled Eighty Hours To Save Karen and The Krishnapur Kidnappings. He is also a published poet. You can read more of his work at his digital space: http://www.jaispoetryblog.com/

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Sitharaam Jayakumar
February 17, 2019 6:19 pm

Thank you so much Vartika for giving me the opportunity to post an article on your blog. :))

Roma Gupta Sinha
February 21, 2019 3:09 pm

Vartika just loved the analogy Jay presented but can’t stop myself from telling you this, I hve been writing for over twenty five years now but I have never faced a writer’s block.

Preeti Chauhan
February 21, 2019 5:08 pm

I would love to read Eighty hours to save Karen by Sitharaam Jayakumar and yes … I have myself experienced this common problem of writer’s block when you can’t seem to be inspired enough to write .

Rakhi Parsai
February 21, 2019 5:10 pm

Wow, such beautifully written piece on a subject that more or less all writers face. I recently had a similar situation and took me almost 2 days to come over it and formulate thoughts to write further.

Alpana Deo
February 21, 2019 7:50 pm

Writer’s block is very common. Even experienced writers face it. And as Jay said, one should stick to what works best for them. When I wrote my first book, first four chapters were clear in my mind later I followed the characters and my thoughts.

February 21, 2019 9:22 pm

It exists. I face that too. and i have some ways to cope with it too. Loved this post by Sitharam.

Prerna Wahi
February 22, 2019 6:08 am

Loved the post and thoughts shared by Jay. I have faced it on and off but mainly due to lack of focus and distractions. Though this article gave me an opportunity to introspect and reflect back. Thanks

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