Can I blog about writer's block?
August 1, 2009 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Should I blog about writer's block? What will my clients think?

I would like to share my perspective on writer's block in a blog, and perhaps later, a book. I have an approach that is successful for me, and I think it could be helpful for others. However, this approach is an ongoing process; that is, I am by no means cured (and willingness to be ok with that is part of the process I would like to share). Here's the rub: I am a freelancer, and I have regular clients that think I'm great. After all, they just see the end results, not my struggles. I don't want them thinking that maybe I won't be able to get it done by the deadline (this is a core fear that I have to overcome anew with every assignment, and one that the blog/book would discuss). Am I right in thinking that public disclosure is risky? Would it be better if I blogged about it pseudonymously, and is that considered ok in the blogging world?
posted by Wordwoman to Work & Money (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, on all counts! Just anonymize it, your clients won't know.
posted by rhizome at 10:00 AM on August 1, 2009

I'd think that showing how you can overcome this struggle creatively would be a very good thing for a potential client to see. If you think it's risky at all, though, sure, anonymize that sucker.
posted by Precision at 10:03 AM on August 1, 2009

I personally wouldn't think less of you for writing about writer's block, and it would be a service to other writers like myself and to your clients, who then get a sense of the real value in the work you do. I do think some people have too casual an attitude towards writing, often assuming that literacy equates with "writing skill." To see more of the process, and see how it differs from say, posting on metafilter, will help you quite a bit in the long run.

In that spirit, and as a fellow writer, may I recommend a few resources?
1. The Artist's Way - if you're atheist/agnostic it will probably bug you, but if you're of whatever spirituality, it's a good creative system. Artist's Way. It is designed specifically to overcome creative block. I'm part of a cluster, so you can get an idea what we do here.

Dennis Cass wants you to be more awesome is a blog geared towards writers and keeping them working - I've found a few of the prompts and his professional insight useful.

And of course there's Write to done which is a popularly cited go-to.

It might give you an idea what's out there so when you're drawing in other clients curious about what you do to look at these, if you haven't already.
posted by medea42 at 10:05 AM on August 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

> they just see the end results, not my struggles.

This is what enables writers to keep clients.

When you've finished your book/product about how to successfully break writer's block, yes, promote the heck of that sucker.

In the meantime, under no circumstances let a client or potential client associate you with the phrase "writer's block".

Writing or blogging about it anonymously is fine, and with an eye to your upcoming book, will be useful-- just, again, make sure there no footprints or broken twigs leading to anywhere close to your professional identity...

Remember: Clients want a black box, with money going in and beautiful or effective writing coming out; the thought that there might be struggling, or something akin to a messy and human creative process, within that box is not something they want to contemplate.

Ultimately, you are being hired to remove entries from the list of things they must think about; "my writer is struggling" would only add something to that list.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:47 PM on August 1, 2009

If you write about it in your business blog, don't make it about yourself. Make it about your clients. For example, give tips that will help readers overcome writer's block when they have to write a presentation; don't write about how you personally freeze when you have to write a speech.

As a client, I rarely want to hear about my vendor's personal challenges in their business or life. When a vendor does "share" too much, I begin to avoid them, because it's hard enough keeping track of my business--I don't want to have to deal with my vendor's issues on top of that.
posted by PatoPata at 5:27 PM on August 1, 2009

If you do this diplomatically, I don't see anything wrong with it, and if I were your client I'd only find it interesting. I wouldn't expect your writer's block to have any effect on my deadlines and I'd only judge you by your output.

As PatoPata said, don't make it too much about you, and NEVER make it about the client.

So I'm dealing with a horrible case of writer's block today. My client, who I find very annoying, is bugging me about tomorrow's deadline, and I'm not sure if I can make it. Instead of working on that, I thought I would get a little bit drunk and write some of my personal feelings about writer's block.
Every writer spends time dealing with writer's block. It might be a cliche', but it's also a very real problem for even the most successful of writers. Here's the bad news: I haven't found a cure for writer's block. But I do have a process for dealing with it. In this blog I'll be giving you daily tips for getting past blocks and becoming a more productive writer.
Done correctly, I don't see how this would be anything but a selling point. If a client asks if you ever have writer's block, you can say "Yeah, I wrote the book on writer's block! Hundreds of people read my advice every day to learn how to deal with writer's block!"

You might run into an irrational client every now and then who thinks this is a problem, but you'll have irrational clients regardless. (I had one long ago who would read a mailing list I participated in and email me with a complaint every time I posted to the list, since I was wasting valuable words that could have been part of his project.)

P. S. I'd love to read that blog / book.
posted by mmoncur at 12:35 AM on August 2, 2009

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