All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy

Is there reasoning in our idea of writer’s block?


  1. The writer has a tendency to write. Tendency is a union of desire (I want to) and capacity (I can).
  2. This tendency is visible in writing-process behaviour. E.g., constructing sentences, shaping notes into logical paragraphs, correcting draft work and so forth.
  3. Writing-process behaviours often, eventually, produce a consequence such as a publishable text, a novel, a poem, a letter, a journal.
  4. Writer’s block is presence of [1] and the absence of [2], [3] and/or [4].


If [1] is not present, writer’s block cannot be present.


Is there a conflict with the idea of writer’s block and the presence of capacity, the I-can-ness, of writing as an activity? Isn’t writer’s block a lack of capacity; an experience of I-cannot-ness?

Yet, if we remove capacity from [1] does that mean desire unfulfilled completes the picture of writer’s block? Could we say an oak tree has writer’s block if she desires to write but cannot?

Are there grades of capacity? Should we say that the capacity in [1] has been diminished in certain respects? I.e., the writer retains some capacities such as holding a pencil and directing language yet tacit elements of writing as an activity will not open or yield fruit.

Under what circumstances can capacity become and incapacity? Or is it that capacities can become dull?