Is writer’s block a social condition?

Writer’s block, the inability to write which is unconnected to a lack of skill or indifference, is often characterised as an internal, individual condition. How then can we make sense of the benefit to writing after a change in our environment?

A change in our setting, atmosphere, tools or routine can often have a positive impact on both the quality and quantity of our writing process. Writing in a different location can mean we write more. Switching to a pencil from a keyboard can mean we write more deeply about our topic. Writing on a train or bus instead of a desk can forge new connections. A change in our environmental conditions can be a writer’s marvel.

This fact suggests writing, as an act of creation, is something other than the expressed ideas of a discrete cognitive process. Could this also be the case for writer’s block? Is there benefit to characterising writer’s block as a social or contextual response? Does such a change in perspective release us, as writers, from the burden of under-performance?

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