Review: Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance

Initial reaction: I’m actually surprised at how good this was as an expansion on what to do when writers get “writer’s block” or otherwise stuck in a variety of different modes. Some of these things I already put into practice, but I never had a name for them until now. Bane explains everything in an easy to understand and logical format. I really enjoyed reading this.

Full review:

I wasn’t expecting to pick this book up at all – it was a random buy that I got with an Amazon Gift Card and I decided to go book splurging (I’ve had a few book splurges lately, and they’ve been fun – and thankfully within budget). I will confess that I never have problems with writer’s block specifically. You will never see me sit in front of a computer or with a pad of paper not knowing what to write. Never, I always have something to work on, whether I’m freewriting or working on a WIP that’s developed into a larger project. While that might be fortunate to some, I have almost the opposite problem: too many ideas. And I find myself getting “blocked” in a sense that way, because these ideas spark my imagination and I don’t always know which project to do. I’ll pick one of my ideas, write on it a while, get another idea and say “Ooh, shiny” – and write on that, saying that I’ll come back to the former project later.

And the process continues. There are some projects I end up finishing, others…not so much. This book actually addresses that problem and then some, and gives a systematic reason for it with not only brain science expansions, but also presents constructive solutions through habitual commitments and processes. I have to say that I was really impressed by the way Rosanne Bane organized all of this. It addresses writer’s block, perfectionism, excessive critique, distractions among a number of different problems a writer may have that prevent them from writing. I loved the way she deconstructs some of this through process and stages, and makes it easy to understand and follow through specific issues.

The stages of habit for writing that she names: process (writing without boundaries/expectations, creative play), product time (writing with specific goals/aims in mind and projects that further along the actual work), and self-care (sleep, exercise, meditation, etc.) are all important to refilling the creative well and keeping a commitment to the work a writer creates. I think this is not only a process that works for writers, but anyone who works in a creative venture in their day to day lives. This can be really be applied within any profession, and the application for extensions is really nice to see in this.

There are stories of different writerly methods and success stories of those who took on this process, and that was helpful to read about. I guess if there were a bit of a downside to this book, there wasn’t as much opportunity for exercising these pieces of information, so the interaction between the reader and the text was few, but it was still a very helpful read. I enjoyed it very much, and it not only gave an interesting look at process and problems from a writerly perspective, but also gave a nice look into the science behind such problems and developing habit. It struck a cool balance, and I definitely see myself coming back to this for inspiration in a different way.

Overall score: 4/5 stars.

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