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Complete Write-Off

In Bloc business on August 3, 2010 at 11:50 pm

After eighteen months online and some seventy-four articles, stories, interviews, flash fictions, poems and miscellaneous other forms, I’ve decided to close Writers’ Bloc. I feel that it’s run its course and, to be brutally honest, I no longer possess the enthusiasm required to keep it running, reading submissions and putting up new material.

At the end of 2008 and start of 2009, as I was thinking about starting this site, I was experiencing a terrible period of writer’s block – that’s with the apostrophe and the ‘k’ on the end, crucially – and although this place was never meant to be just about that, but rather about what I thought was the brilliantly simple idea of “writing about writing”, the ominous shadow of a complete lack of artistic inspiration was certainly in the back of my mind a lot of the time. Not least because, well, that period of writer’s block has never truly come to an end in the way I would have liked. Yes, I’ve dabbled here and there, but ultimately “it” – that intangible writing thing that comes from somewhere but can just as easily go back there – has never really returned. I dearly hope it will, and I’m telling myself that it might have a better chance if I stop “pretending” via this site. Maybe.

I’ve learned a couple of useful things, though, along the way. I pass these on to you to use as you see fit.

First, a shockingly high number of people don’t read submissions guidelines, or even bother to investigate what a site is about and thus where its editors are coming from. But if all those keen writers had paused for just a moment in their strenuous ongoing efforts to send their latest literary masterpiece to every literary magazine from A to Z, they might have noticed the frequent, obvious, incredibly unsubtle mentions on both the above pages to this site’s raison d’être. Honestly, I didn’t make it hard to spot. If Writers’ Bloc had carried on, I think I would have finally followed through on my long-held promise to create an especially rude rejection email just for that particular breed of ignoramus.

Second, in this day and age seemingly everyone wants to be a writer. Now, unlike some, I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing. Words are beautiful and inspiring to use, to craft and to put together in a way that, first and foremost, is pleasing to the person creating them, before they even get to be read by anyone else (which, in most cases, they don’t). If an individual gets such enjoyment out of writing, why shouldn’t they call themselves a writer? Why shouldn’t they occasionally lift themselves out of the remorseless, repetitive drudge of everyday life by writing? Yet I will admit that I’m not so sure about the motives of writers on Twitter. Without ever doing anything more proactive with the Writers’ Bloc Twitter feed than use it for automatic updates when something new appeared on the site, it somehow amassed 1,153 followers. A lot of those people are evidently just typing the keyword “writer” into Twitter, and then following anyone or anything that appears in the results. How do I know this? Well, because they invariably have vaguely cringeworthy usernames such as “bobthewriter” or “dianatheauthor”. Oh, and there’s also the small matter that this site, I’m sad to say, has never even got close to having 1,153 visits a week from all our supposedly devoted Twitter followers.

The domain name and hosting for Writers’ Bloc both expire in December. Whether or not I pay to keep the site online after that remains to be seen. There is some great work to read here, with writers discussing, attacking (that was mostly me, in truth) and musing on the subject from every possible angle, so do take the opportunity to scroll through the archives and discover some of it before it possibly disappears.

Thanks to each and every person whose writing has appeared on these pages, and to all who took the time and trouble to submit their work (and since I’m feeling generous, I’ll even include those who didn’t read the submissions guidelines). If, for some inexplicable reason, you want to track my activities – literary or otherwise – elsewhere on the net, there’s always the occasional update on An Unreliable Witness, the site that has unfortunately borne the most noticeable brunt of my writer’s block; most days I can be found allegedly entertaining Twitter with my attempts at being bitter, cynical and passive-aggressive in the face of the stupidity of daily life, all in the space of only 140 characters; there are occasional literary links, but more often just pretty pictures and music videos, on my tumblr; or, if you’re after more of the kind of thing I occasionally penned here on Writers’ Bloc, check out the still shiny and new ‘other’ magazine where I’m just one of many contributors, most of whose names you’ll probably recognise far more readily than mine.

So thanks for reading. Thanks for writing. And if you’re not writing because you also believe, as I do, that you’ve somehow “lost it”, then come and join me in a communal act of sitting and staring at our blank white screens, waiting for that elusive inspiration to strike. Cursor blinks on, cursor blinks off, cursor blinks on, cursor blinks off, cursor blinks on, cursor blinks off …

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  1. Farewell lovely lady.

  2. I only wish I had contributed more. God speed, you blank page, you!

  3. I’ll miss it and you, Vaughn. Thanks for all the kind support. Best of luck.

  4. this is fucking insanity and i do not accept your terms.

  5. What happens to the rights of the work that has been published if it disappears in December? Seeing as how it will basically not exist anymore, do the authors have the rights/permission to send this work out to other journals? Is that not done? I don’t know things, I just make words.

  6. Good question, Brett. In line with most online literary magazines, we do (or rather, perhaps, did) say in our submissions guidelines that all rights to a piece of work remained with the author so, once it’s appeared here, they’re at liberty to do with it what they wish. It would really be up to any literary journal that a writer happened to approach with a Writers’ Bloc piece in future as to whether they wanted to accept something that had previously appeared here, even if the original site was no longer available on the web.

  7. Vaughan —

    We two are truly running parallel lives. Both Writers’ Blocs existed for a little under two years and closed in the same month. Are you sure you’re not my long-lost twin?

  8. By the way Vaughan, why don’t you just transfer the site to a free, infinitely hosted WordPress account? It seems a shame to turn your masterpiece into a void.

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