Jodi Picoult on Writer’s Block
A blank page can be scary. Here at ECP, we know that better than anyone. As writers ourselves, many of us have been confronted by the dreaded blank page. This is why we could all use a good reminder that a bad page is always—always—better than a blank page. And writing something is always better than writing nothing.
From issues of the Wonder Woman comics to a slate of well-known family fiction, American author Jodi Picoult has written more than 25 books! However, just like her quote here implies, Picoult has a trick for writing: she doesn’t believe in writer’s block. “I didn’t have the luxury of believing it.” Picoult once said, “When you only have twenty minutes, you write—whether it’s garbage, or it’s good… you just DO it, and you fix it later.”
Of course, we do not expect our kids to write like a published author. In fact, as mentioned in “Supporting the Anxious Writer,” writing should be about growth, fun, and cultivating a kid’s boundless imagination, and not about hitting some deadline or marks and grades. However, it might be comforting for young writers to know that even a super established author needs to conquer the fear of the blank page, and that she does it in the same way that they could as well: by putting everything down on the page first. Even if it’s not their best work. Then, Picoult would rely on the help of her mother and her agent to revise: “I take their comments and incorporate them into the next draft… and do a hefty edit. And another… and another…”
For our young writers, they have us: their parents and teachers! We are always here to help them create and revise. As one of our teachers have said about the workshop process, “If they can just bring me a page, I can help them make it better.” What’s more, if a young writer is just struggling with write anything down, there is a variety of pre-writing techniques as well: from drawing and verbally sharing to graphic organizers. We also often have students share with a classmate or the class a big idea or some details that they are excited about. This helps solidify the ideas in the writer's mind, and makes getting started that much easier.