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On Writer's Block

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  132 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Creative blocks are as old as the written word and a source of guilt and frustration that have afflicted the lives of many of the greatest writers and artists. Yet such mysterious creative silences need not be feared. Rather, argues Victoria Nelson, they should be viewed as a positive element in a writer's or artist's growth, the unconscious mind's signal to readjust the a ...more
Paperback, 191 pages
Published March 1st 1993 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 1985)
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Sian Jones
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, nonfiction
Short version: This book is wholly full of wisdom about the natural rhythms and flows of a creative life, buttressing its solid psychological analysis with poignant, insightful words from writers themselves. It encourages self-compassion like all get-out, and for that I love it.

Long version: Which is more of a testimonial than a review. So stop here if you're not in the mood for personal biography.

I just re-read this book for the first time in 20 years, and it turns out, it pretty much explains
Teri Dluznieski
Apr 14, 2011 rated it really liked it

There are 2 must-reads for authors and publishers. this is the second of them.

Writers Block is every writers dread and fear. What happens when you are stuck. Either a story that won't write itself, new ideas just won't come, or you are just plain frustrated because you know this is not anywhere near your "best work."

On writers block takes a very holistic and pro-active approach to what is going on when creativity won't flow. It delves into the nature of creativity, how it works, etc. It looks at
Graham P
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Even though written in the mid-eighties, this is (and should be) a fresh slap in the face to those grinding away at the writing game. Victoria Nelson stands atop a steel-plated soapbox in this one...she foregoes the gentle head-stroking and ego-boosting of some other writerly books. Eloquently and harshly, at the same time, she relays the dread and the fears that come along with dedicating oneself to be a 'writer.' Part obstinate aunt, part mother with your best interests at heart, other times a ...more
Magdalen Bowyer
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 writerl ...more
Jun 03, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find this a very insightful and constructive book about writer's block, even if it leans heavily on Freudian concepts. The author has been very direct with the major points she made, particularly the need to maintain a healthy balance between the creative child and one's often authoritarian self. ...more
Feb 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: artists, creators of any kind
Shelves: writing
I love you, Nelson. I've always been curious about the psychological aspects of the creative person -- and the balance between spontaneous play and skill. Nelson has a lot of interesting things to say not just for writers but all artists, I think. A quick read. ...more
Mar 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Turns out I had reader's block. I only made it halfway through ...more
Pat Stanford
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cine de Escritor
Reseña completa en mi blog:

Me ha resultado interesante comprender que hay muchos tipos de bloqueo; el libro no siempre te da soluciones prácticas para ellos, pero sí te ayuda a identificar el tuyo para que puedas empezar a trabajar a partir de ahí.
Rana Habib
Jul 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this a lot!
I thrifted this book and wasnt planning on reading it but I’m glad that I did
Recommend for every creator to read at some point.
The reason I checked this book out of the library is because I was searching for something else with a similar title and they didn't have it, but this one showed up. It looked interesting, so I decided to give it a shot. I only got through 2 chapters, and it was very hard to make myself read further then the preface. I can't quite put my finger on what is so uninteresting about this book, but I could not get through it. The author talked about how our creativeness was like an inner child and I t ...more
Nickky Faustine de Guzman
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
The book tackles issues of procrastination, where the author says that, sometimes it is not the writer's choice on why he/she procrastinates but its because of the complex factors around: information overload, tiredness, etc.

Also, it reiterates the need to write, whatever, no matter how senseless, gibberish, grammatically incorrect, just let the ideas flow, and edit later. Edit it twice, thrice, re-read it, let your friend or your inner-critique trim down the excess fat of that piece of writing.
Sep 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Nelson has some good points, but "direct and to-the-point" her style is not; denser than it need have been. ...more
Jan 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
Gave my copy away. I did not find this book helpful.
Melissa Hazelwood
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An insightful read.
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, nonfiction
Not only is this good writing advice, it's good life advice. ...more
Andy Ehrensberger
Oct 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Essential for anybody in a creative profession.
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