On Writer’s Block (second edition of Writer’s Block and How to Use It), a Book of the Month Club alternate selection when it was published, is out of print but available on Amazon, ABE, and other outlets.
My premise is that resistance is the most valuable internal GPS a writer can have, but too often we reflexively lash ourselves for laziness instead of listening to the guidance and wisdom the “block” offers us. I have yet to meet a self-labeled “procrastinator” writer who was anything but perfectionist, hard working, and compulsively driven. And therein lies the rub!
I teach writing for a living. This has been the most valuable book on the subject of writer’s block that I have ever read. My creative writing students love this book. It is a compassionate, heavily researched, practical work of humanistic psychology. The author covers every kind of block you can imagine. It is also very funny at times and she draws on the history of literature in interesting and unforgettable ways. This is a book I have re-read several times. I have been teaching for 21 years and I haven’t found anything like “On Writer’s Block.” Unfortunately, this book is out of print. It deserves to be back in print. If you are struggling with writer’s block or if you teach writing, you won’t regret buying this book. This is a truly excellent book, one of the best on the subject.
As a mid-career playwright – one whose prolificity has slowed a bit in recent years – I approached this book with a deep sense of dread and skepticism. I was astounded to discover that I finished it with a whole new fervor to get back to that keyboard and write something new! Ms. Nelson completely obliterates the negative connotations of “creative block” – and shows the reader how such periods of inactivity are not only rejuvenating, but completely essential. So is this book! I especially enjoyed the biographical tidbits sprinkled throughout, of successful artists who suddenly hit a wall. My highest recommendation.
This book … oh this blessed, glorious book … is a treasure! It is the only book on writing I’ve read so far — and I have an extensive library of books on writing — that has met me where I need to be met. It is deep and it is wise. If you’re interested in exploring your creative process as the making of soul, then this is the guide for you. You will want to read and re-read it to glean the layers of understanding that are possible. Victoria Nelson will encourage you to set a place at your writerly desk for all the aspects of yourself. This is her tome for the soul of a writer. A rare and precious text, having read it you’ll be better equipped to learn what wants to be written through you. I know I sure am!