Is there a cure for writer’s block? (And no, “get a real job” doesn’t count.) A recent article in The New Yorker profiles a therapist who treats struggling screenwriters for hundreds of dollars an hour. For centuries, poorer scribes (which is to say most of us) have preferred to rely on rituals and folk remedies. Sharpen 10 pencils. Eat a sandwich. Pretend that the first chapter of your long-overdue opus is a casual letter to your grandmother. Weep quietly. Have another drink.
And from the article on Barry Michels at the New Yorker link:
By far the most common problem afflicting the writers in Michels’s practice is procrastination, which he understands in terms of Jung’s Father archetype. “They procrastinate because they have no external authority figure demanding that they write,” he says. “Often I explain to the patient that there is an authority figure he’s answerable to, but it’s not human. It’s Time itself that’s passing inexorably. That’s why they call it Father Time. Every time you procrastinate or waste time, you’re defying this authority figure.” Procrastination, he says, is a “spurious form of immortality,” the ego’s way of claiming that it has all the time in the world; writing, by extension, is a kind of death. He gives procrastinators a tool he calls the Arbitrary Use of Time Moment, which asks them to sit in front of their computers for a fixed amount of time each day. “You say, ‘I’m surrendering myself to the archetypal Father, Chronos,’ ” he says. ‘I’m surrendering to him because he has hegemony over me.’ That submission activates something inside someone. In the simplest terms, it gets people to get their ass in the chair.” For the truly unproductive, he sets the initial period at ten minutes—“an amount of time it would sort of embarrass them not to be able to do.”It's really what Boice and Silvia and Raymond Chandler and everyone else has told writers to do, but with a Jungian spin.