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Writer’s block

By Charlotte Barrett

Listen to Charlotte while you read
29 phrasal verbs you might want to brush up…ooops 30 actually

One day, someone came up with the name writer’s block. Like it’s a disease or a compulsory rite of passage for those who dare to call themselves“writers”. It’s when inspiration is not there. When you sit in front of your laptop, open a Word page but nothing comes out. No words come out, no idea, no lead, nothing to write. Creativity is blocked.

I always found much more amazing, singular and exceptional the fact that one could sit down and write altogether. I never understood why one could be surprised at the thought of, for once, not being able to write. As if, like breathing, it was natural for a human to come up with things to write, things to create. Isn’t it the other way around? 

Just like this article. I am blocked, completely blanked out, thinking I should write something because I have set goals for myself and decided I should publish at a certain frequency. Not because I have something to say, not because I am inspired, not because creativity has struck, not because I came across anything worth mentioning but simply because I mechanically decided that I should. Just to stay on track

Some studies show that the brain can be trained to unlock creativity, that building up habits increases the success rate of the creative process and so on. This basically means spending hours sitting, thinking hard about what to write about, questioning one’s inability to create, questioning existence, why sugar tastes so good, feeling unworthy of anything, catching up on Royal family gossips, beating one self’s up for not being productive enough, considering calling the whole thing off and ultimately hoping inspiration will come tomorrow.

In my most desperate hours, I simply try to visualise the famous block, to describe it; figure out its colour, its shape, its smell, its heaviness. It is like this furry monster I imagined lived under my bed as a child and only came out at night to scare me. No one else sees it or understands it but I know it is there, cluttering my brain, paralysing me. He is not easy to get along with, almost impossible to befriend or tame but somehow, imagining it makes it possible to deal with

Of course, it is nothing but another decoy of my brain to make up excuses for my lack of inspiration. Should I put in more effort into it? Or is the idea of a creative production on demand simply insane in the first place? Why should I take on such a challenge after all? To prove that I can be as stubborn as any and train my brain like a Jedi, secretly hoping Master Yoda will cheer me upDone good work you have … Honestly, this just doesn’t add up!

This being said, I somehow managed to pull off a full article on my inability to write and why on earth it is deemed normal to encounter such a block along the magical path of the writer’s journey. And, if you hadn’t noticed, let me point out that I managed to squeeze in lots of phrasal verbs in there so next time you are desperate for words you can be fully equipped to get over your own writer’s block without running out of ideas.  Now, pull yourself together, think it through, muster up the courage, get down to it and type away!

I hope this sheds some light on how phrasal verbs work. It is a blog about learning English after all…

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