Blocked? Go around

As the author of 469 books (more or less*), Isaac Asimov didn’t seem to have a problem with writer’s block. Why not? Here’s what he had to say in a 1989 interview:

“I could easily have writer’s block by working on only one thing. You get tired of working on something, something sticks you, and you begin thinking in circles. And the harder you try to get out of it, the harder you fail. But I’ve always got half a dozen different things I’m supposed to do. Whenever I get tired of one thing I switch to another. By the time I’ve finished the ‘something else,’ and I go back to the first, what was a problem is no longer a problem. So that there never has been a day when I couldn’t sit down and write. But I don’t always write the thing that I might have written if I hadn’t gotten tired.”

Notice that Asimov is not telling you to stop writing when you hit a block. Don’t get a sandwich or watch cat videos or run a few errands. Keep writing, but switch to a different project. Then you can come back to your original project with your momentum still going.


* That’s how many Asimov claimed, but his list includes two wall posters, a calendar and more than a 100 anthologies that weren’t entirely by Asimov. On the other hand, other Asimov books were published after he made his list of 469, and toward the end of his life he wasn’t keeping track very carefully. No matter how you count, he wrote a lot of them.

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