Thursday, January 24, 2013

Home Country Writer’s Block

Writer Abroad has never believed in writer’s block. People that claim they have it? Well she has kindly always considered them lazy and unmotivated.

But after being in the U.S. for three weeks this winter, she realized something: she is sometimes one of these lazy, unmotivated people too–at least when she is visiting her home country. Because the moment she gets off the boat from expat land and steps onto her "home"land, she goes mute on the page.
Where do you write best?

Blame vacation. 
Blame jet lag. 
Blame being distracted by conversations she can understand and stores that make 24-hour shopping possible.

But partly, it’s difficult to explain why her home country gives her writer’s block. So instead, she’s trying to determine what it is about being abroad that makes Writer Abroad prolific.

So here are the reasons Writer Abroad thinks it’s easier to write from abroad:

-She’s often alone (family is 5,000 miles away and six to seven hours behind, so if they call or e-mail, it's not until after her writing day is over anyway)
-There aren’t many distractions (if you don’t count a baby, a clock tower that dings every 15 minutes 24/7, and a part-time job)
-Small problems often become big issues in a foreign place, leading to many instances necessary for creative problem solving
-She is usually hypersensitive to situations since she still can’t comprehend a lot of the local dialect, which makes her use more of her senses on an everyday basis to interpret things
-She is in her own apartment, the place where she feels the most free creatively (she can stare into space or make faces when thinking without fear of the consequences)

Anyone else out there have home country writer’s block? Or know why they are more prolific abroad?


  1. When I visited home right before a writing deadline I got a lot done. But normally, I visit home so rarely that when I'm there I want to focus on spending time with family and friends. So I don't feel bad about not writing when I'm there.

  2. I had the opposite problem. When I lived overseas, I couldn't write because there was always so much going on. My head felt like it was going to explode most of the time. I'd sit down at my computer and would immediately get distracted by something shiny and new. I've been back home for five years now, and there's not a lot of "shiny and new" these days. That's not all bad, though: I'm finally able to sit down and let all those ideas out. Having said that, moving back is definitely not the same as visiting!

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