Lovely and immensely talented author Lucy Coats blogged about overcoming and doing battle with the dastardly writer’s block recently. You can read it and all the useful comments here. Someone raised the question: do fantastically successful writers like JK Rowling and James Patterson ever have writer’s block? While on my slippery- wet-and -generally -unpleasant- though- full -of -healthful- benefits morning walk I pondered this. I have experienced writer’s block but to a very small degree and usually when I am trying to force something which is not working. I think this is the way my snarky muse lets me know that I need to trash a particular passage/character/sub plot (or sometimes scarily, major plot) and try a different approach. It never lasts more than a day or two and usually a regime of energetic walks and a lot of venting (discussion), sorts it out. I was always reluctant to call it writer’s block- something that Lucy points out in her blog- as if that would give ‘it’ more power over me. It has always seemed to me as well (and this is strictly a personal thing) that it was a sign that I was an amateur writer without the discipline and talent to write past it. But my blockages (ewww) were more like stumbling blocks, small barriers, not a yawning chasm of emptiness leading to despair and depression. My brain is quite frequently sludgy but it’s never been completely filled with sludge. I’ve always been able to dig myself out, mostly by putting aside whatever I’m working on, getting enough sleep, writing something new- blog, tweets, short story, other idea- and reading lots of books. Easing myself back into the routine helps too. And banning guilt. Guilt has no place in a writer’s life. We are frequently entirely too hard on ourselves. A little easing off of the whip never hurt anyone. I’m thinking that admitting the existence and reality of writer’s block might defang and declaw ‘it’ to some extent. Saying it out loud maybe makes it less scary. And as for JK Rowling, James Patterson, etc…if there is any truth to that, I’m wondering if it’s more a question of confidence. If you’ve had wild success as an author and dealt with writing block (either on a small scale or large) maybe you know you can overcome it, know that it is perhaps a natural part of the writing process, know that you can obliterate it in a fair fight.