There are as many ways cure writer’s block as there are to skin a cat…… or kill people, as Johnny Depp ably demonstrates in the Stephen King inspired movie Secret Window. As a freshly divorced, just-out-of-the-psych-ward novelist living alone in the country, Johnny finds he is now unable to write. Traumatic life events can cause such problems, and the viewer’s heart feels tugs of compassion for his plight…initially. As the plot unfolds, his writing remains stalled until a series of unusual events (including dog murder, plagiarism accusations, multiple personality disorder, a number of unexplained slain corpses and the gruesome demise of his ex-wife and her lover) eventually allow Johnny to heal from his divorce and write freely again. So… kind of a happy ending?
In my work as a psychologist I have assisted many struggling writers, but I have never employed the interventions that worked so well for Johnny. Perhaps I’m too conservative in my treatment modalities. Stephen King is also responsible for writing The Shining, which similarly features a blocked writer who becomes crazy and murderous. Let’s hope that Mr. King himself never addresses his blocks in these ways.