Seth Godin wrote:
No one ever gets talker’s block. No one wakes up in the morning, discovers he has nothing to say and sits quietly, for days or weeks, until the muse hits, until the moment is right, until all the craziness in his life has died down.
No one? This isn’t true.
What Godin is describing is not unlike a symptom of depression. It’s not a total inability to speak, just as writer’s block is not a total inability to write, but the hill gets steeper. You might hate everything you say or think. You might want to delete the sentences you speak. You might try to avoid situations in which you’ll be expected to talk. It happens. It is not a “no one ever” situation.
The reason we don’t get talker’s block is that we’re in the habit of talking without a lot of concern for whether or not our inane blather will come back to haunt us.
Who’s “we,” Mr. Godin? I’ve had epic bouts of sleeplessness after saying something stupid. I have often had “a lot of concern” about whether my inane blather will come back to haunt me.
I certainly agree that talking and writing are different. I agree that writer’s block is probably more common and more often self-diagnosed, shall we say. I agree that we can extract lessons about confidence, control, and capability from one area and apply them to the other area.
Yes, practice is important. Writing a lot makes for better writing. Yes, Ira Glass has a great bit he does about respecting and closing the gap between expectation and performance. It’s a common notion among writers that you have to write a lot of inferior material before you can start producing quality material. The number of weak words you have to get through varies with the telling.
Write more and you’re likely to write better. Yes.
It’s a good, worthy, well established point, bordering on a cliché. It’s certainly not new advice. And it comes with lazy assumptions and absolutes. But whatever. For Seth Godin it’s just a drop in the bucket—he isn’t always brilliant but he’s always out there, posting every day, and I admit that counts for a lot.