Q: Are blocked writers more likely to get dumped than the general population?

John Lynch plays a pathetic, adulterous blocked writer who gets dumped twice by Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie "Sliding Doors"

A: Maybe. I would hypothesize that a big hairy writing block will not raise your stock as a lover, but a more statistically significant mode of investigation, like watching a movie, might be required to ascertain a truly definitive answer.

OK then, let’s explore this question by examining the movie Sliding Doors.  Gwyneth Paltrow stars in this film as a woman married to John Lynch, a broke, blocked, aspiring novelist who distracts himself by shagging (it’s a British movie) an old girlfriend while Gwyneth is at work. Early on, the movie divides into two parallel realities (why or how this happens is not particularly well explained) and we see two different versions of how the relationship between John and Gwyneth implodes. He is blocked and shagging adulterously in both realities, and he gets dumped by Gwyneth in both realities. But is he dumped because of his writing problems?

Certainly if a non-productive writing situation goes on for an extended period of time, issues will emerge in an intimate relationship. For one thing, blocked writers typically experience a good deal of inner turmoil, and hence are frequently moody, distracted or irritable, and not necessarily charming or cheerful companions at the dinner table (I’ve written about this in a previous post).

In addition, blocks are often associated with financial strain, which does not enhance a relationship’s longevity prospects either. It’s all well and good to be supportive of one’s mate as they pursue their literary dreams, but human nature being what it is, it’s hard to sustain the cheerleading as the months go by and the bills start stacking up.

In Sliding Doors, had John managed to write something in just one of these realities, he might have had a fighting chance of only getting dumped in the other reality. This would have been breaking even, and easier to accept. However, his cheating was a confounding variable that prohibits us from making sweeping generalizations about the role of his writing block on their relationship’s demise. Let’s just say that being blocked didn’t help.

When things are not going well at the keyboard, handling the reactions of loved ones may be a considerable challenge, and may intensify the writing struggles; leading to a downward spiral of stress, disharmony and increased literary constipation. Yikes.

It’s best to keep in mind that writing blocks are dynamic and can change. The answer is not always obvious or something that happens overnight. Start by clearly assessing your particular version of the problem, and a useful approach may appear.

In the event that the worst happens and your Gwyneth departs, don’t give up the pen. As a writer you can harness, and possibly heal from, the resulting emotional fallout by writing about it – in all of your realities.

About David Rasch

Author, psychologist, speaker, teacher, consultant, workshop leader
This entry was posted in Common Writing Block Problems, The Blocked Writer's Book of the Dead, Tips for overcoming writer's block and procrastination and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Q: Are blocked writers more likely to get dumped than the general population?

  1. Fakewomen says:


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