Sometimes it’s hard to determine whether you’re dealing with writer’s block or a block by someone who has played for the National Basketball Association. This list should help clear it up. (Answers at end.)
You feel mentally hazy and can’t manage to lift that brain fog no matter how hard you try.
You just can’t seem to get inspired by anything anymore, let alone put it down on paper.
Your basketball shot doesn’t make the basket.
You feel emotionally drained.
A seven-foot-tall person with an athletic build has a hand in your face.
A two-foot-tall person with a nonathletic build has a hand in your face.
An N.B.A. player hits your hand.
A two-foot-tall person hits your hand.
You’ve been thinking a lot about the N.B.A. champion Hakeem Olajuwon lately. He keeps showing up in your dreams and occasionally at your house demanding that you submit the final draft of the script for the show that you pitched for him to star in. It’s called “Olajuwon: Blocking on Broadway.”
The N.B.A. Hall of Famer, block leader, and published author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has offered to help you work through it, but you refuse because you know that you have the potential to finish it yourself and that asking for help would feel like a crutch.
Your fear of rejection makes you never want to try again.
Kareem leaves another voice mail reminding you that he’s been through this many times, and that the key is to just keep going. Then you block his number.
You play basketball to get over it.
Hakeem comes over and sees that you’re not writing and that in fact you’re playing basketball and so he does this when you try to take a shot.
You try to write to get over it, but get distracted by the game that just came on.
Writer’s block: 1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 13
N.B.A. block: 3, 5, 14
Both: 4, 11, 15
Neither, that’s a foul: 7
Neither, that’s your toddler distracting you at the exact moment you
found inspiration: 6, 8
Neither, that’s a phone block: 12