Blocked, or merely incompetent?

The great thing about posing as a novelist is that no one can prove you aren't one, especially if you insist you are but simply haven't actually gotten around to writing much of anything.

It begins, typically, with the bizarre aspiration, predominant in sophomore year of college and then again in early to late middle age, to become a recognized and serious writer almost overnight, a condition that appears to be unique to the written "arts." Imagine if you will, your cousin or neighbor who studied piano some 30 years ago suddenly announcing that they had taken it up again with the aim of performing classical pieces with well known orchestras in, say, oh, the next few years. You would be struck, understandably, by the obvious naivete, and even suspect that the person making such an announcement had lost her mind. How might she expect to compete with professionals who have not only toiled for decades for hours a day but are also respected as the top of the heap among thousands of similar pedigree?


Yet every day, around the world, people whose relevant experience is that they like to read or once scribbled the odd essay back in school, decide that one of these days, by god, they will pen a great novel  (shouldn't take more than a month, maybe a few years at most?) followed immediately, one assumes, by a book deal, tours, best seller status and appearances on talk shows.


And this is indeed the mindset displayed in coffee shops, book clubs, writers groups and online forums across the planet, where the discussion is never much about completed and validly published work but mostly about the universal struggles involved with:


  • Coming up with a topic, story, beginning, middle or end

  • Overcoming writers block as if it's something that people who haven't written anything anyway experience constantly

  • Finding the time to travel to the far away location of the imagined book to do "research"

  • Locating and obtaining the rights to a suitable work-space, appropriate for such a serious endeavor, with just the right amount of light and furniture to afford creativity and motivation

  • Explaining to all the people who aren't pretend writers how difficult it is to be a literary genius

  • And then, ultimately, where to live with the millions earned and how best to handle or hide from the incredible fame involved with being a best-selling author



It's a full time job, not writing, and there's just too much in the way of your imminent literary success.


Or is it possible that one is not blocked, not too busy, not too distressed or somehow sensitive to the world around them to actually write something? Is it possible that writing is hard work made possible by a talent for language and story telling which ultimately pays and leads to nothing and....never mind.