Childhood Writing Experiences and Blocks

If you have concerns about your writing process (or lack thereof), it may be useful to review your history as a writer. You were taught to write during childhood, and the effects of these early experiences and conditioning extend into your current life, whether they are helpful or not. Many writers report having an affinity for books and the written word at an early age.

In my book and in my workshops I ask writers to examine their early memories, good and bad, about writing. These might include interactions with parents, teachers, siblings, peers, and others. Of particular interest are those experiences where a strong message was conveyed about your capability, or how writing should or should not be done.

School experiences figure prominently here, because reading and writing are so central to success. I’ve discussed this with many talented writers who carry unnecessarily negative beliefs about their own ability because of an insensitive teacher’s harsh criticism of their writing. It can be quite devastating to be 8 years old and receive an intense blast of criticism from an authority figure, or to be told directly and indirectly that you are not a good writer. A child can easily believe that voice and incorporate it into their own inner  self-concept and internal dialogue.

While reviewing memories, make note of the ones that you can still feel a charge about – anger, fear, hopelessness, guilt, pride, confidence. Watch how and when these feelings crop up in your writing, especially if you are avoiding. If you can catch these emotional ghosts from the past in the act, you have at least a fighting chance of not being so completely controlled by them. Your strength as a writer will grow as long as you just keep writing, and call their bluff.

About David Rasch

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

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