Inventor's Block?

A very good friend of mine--a very talented writer trying to juggle a full time job and a burgeoning writing career--posted an eloquent and inspiring quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson on his blog, Transient Me. I suspect anyone who has had a hard time writing, whether that be on a novel, a report, or even a blog post, can relate to Emerson's powerful words:

Our moods do not believe in each other. To-day I am full of thoughts, and can write what I please. I see no reason why I should not have the same thought, the same power of expression, to-morrow. What I write, whilst I write it, seems the most natural thing in the world; but yesterday I saw a dreary vacuity in this direction in which now I see so much; and a month hence, I doubt not, I shall wonder who he was that wrote so many continuous pages. Alas for this infirm faith, this will not strenuous, this vast ebb of a vast flow! I am God in nature; I am a weed by the wall.

Reading through that got me thinking: for all of the times I've heard of "writer's block," I don't think I've ever heard of "painter's block" or "dancer's block" or "inventor's block."

So, a question for you, reader. If you consider yourself a creative person, and if you channel your creativity in ways other than writing, do you have these kind of blocks?

William said...

Or, alternatively, "commenter's block!" ; )

mike fabio said...

I'm fairly certain these blocks are common throughout any creative fields. Or non-creative fields for that matter. As a musician I can certainly attest to composer's block as well as player's block. But I think even if your job is to crunch Excel spreadsheets for a living, you just have those days when the numbers don't seem to go together right.

Just be glad you aren't like Harry Block from the movie Deconstructing Harry. His writer's block is so severe, his whole being is out of focus (depicted literally on the screen, hilarity ensues). Oh, and I doubt his name is coincidental.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I started to comment right away and say that software developers definitely suffer the same woe at times. Then I thought that when programmers face this problem, it's still basically "writers block" and you asked about "{something else} block".

But, now that I think back about it, I can remember suffering the same fate when doing stage lighting/sound/sets. And I've certainly watched actors and directors go through it.

Maybe the difference is that when writers get writers block, they write about it? Maybe other sufferers work through it in ways that don't leave as permanent of a record for later observers to witness?

Mark said...

3D artist and animator here, and absolutely I get blocks. Logjams in the brain, staring at 2,560 pixels horizontal by 1,600 vertical all begging me to fill 'em... and me staring, horrified with my utter lack of any answer.

The ususal treatments (doses of reality in a different environment) are generally efficacious.

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