Magazine May 23, 2016, Issue

Wordsmiths without Words

(Phil Ashley/Getty Images)
Examining the nature of writer’s block.

‘The first point about writer’s block is that relatively little has been written about it.” That’s the second sentence of the introduction to a 1991 book by Zachary Leader called — wait for it — “Writer’s Block.” The claim makes sense: The writers who might say the most about block are the ones who have the hardest time saying anything at all. They’re like singers without voices. The rest of us have no idea what we’re missing in the silence.

I became interested in writer’s block last fall — not because it had afflicted me (knock on wood), but because I

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

The Apartment of Labor Scott Lincicome’s comprehensive and illuminating article “The Truth about Trade” (April 11) describes several government policies that have acted to exacerbate current labor-market inefficiencies. One could speculate ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ As Abraham Lincoln said, “You’re fired.” ‐ Protesters, many of them riotous, dogged Donald Trump in southern California. In Costa Mesa, they blocked an interstate, threw debris at passing cars, ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

THE SS NORMANDIE Confiscated from Vichy France, she sat In the Hudson for months until the fire. The smoke was so thick over midtown, rumors Spread the Japanese had attacked New York. The old transatlantic ...

Most Popular

Elections

Biden Dusts Off Obama’s Most Famous Lie

"If you like your health care plan, you can keep it," was a promise President Barack Obama often made when selling the Affordable Care Act. It was one of the most significant political lies in recent history, leveled during one of our most contentious policy debates. If Americans knew they might lose their ... Read More
Elections

Biden Dusts Off Obama’s Most Famous Lie

"If you like your health care plan, you can keep it," was a promise President Barack Obama often made when selling the Affordable Care Act. It was one of the most significant political lies in recent history, leveled during one of our most contentious policy debates. If Americans knew they might lose their ... Read More
U.S.

FBI to Interview Hunter Biden Business Partner

The FBI has asked Tony Bobulinski, former business partner of Hunter Biden, to sit for an interview on Friday, Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) told reporters. Bobulinski was initially scheduled to give an interview on Friday to members of various Senate committees regarding his knowledge of business deals ... Read More
U.S.

FBI to Interview Hunter Biden Business Partner

The FBI has asked Tony Bobulinski, former business partner of Hunter Biden, to sit for an interview on Friday, Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) told reporters. Bobulinski was initially scheduled to give an interview on Friday to members of various Senate committees regarding his knowledge of business deals ... Read More
Elections

Biden Wants It Both Ways

This week felt like a month. On the menu today: After President Trump asked, “Would you close down the oil industry?” Biden responded, “I have a transition from the old industry, yes,” and now Biden’s campaign insists the candidate didn’t mean it. Biden also insisted that he “never said I oppose ... Read More
Elections

Biden Wants It Both Ways

This week felt like a month. On the menu today: After President Trump asked, “Would you close down the oil industry?” Biden responded, “I have a transition from the old industry, yes,” and now Biden’s campaign insists the candidate didn’t mean it. Biden also insisted that he “never said I oppose ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More
Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More
Media

The Media’s Shameful Hunter Biden Abdication

In an interview with National Public Radio’s public editor today, Terence Samuel, managing editor for news, explained why readers haven’t seen any stories about the New York Post’s Hunter Biden email scoop. “We don’t want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want ... Read More