Why Henry Rollins Never Gets Writer’s Block

I don’t know if I’ve ever had one. I’m not trying to say I’m somebody with a volcanic output coming out of me all the time, but if somebody ever says, “Well, what do you do about writer’s block?” I’m like, “I don’t think I’m a writer.” I don’t put any of those titles on myself, so I don’t acknowledge those pressures. Some days I got stuff, some days I don’t, and some days I write about the fact I got nothing to write about. But, I do try to write 1,000 words a day. It’s just like going to the gym. Some workouts are better than others. I think the less pressure you put on yourself, the better. In my opinion, it’d be hard to sit in a room and go, “Okay, damnit. Be creative.”

Some days you might not want to face the agony it takes to process the stuff you have in you—but this kind of work is not for the fragile. You have to be somewhat of a warrior. It’s why you see a lot of writer types that are kind of angry, itchy people. That’s because they’re playing chess with their psyche all the time. You have to be ready to grapple with the fact that some days there will be nothing. You’ve got to trust and remember that on other days there’ll be too much and it’ll make you crazy in a different way. So, I don’t really put that much pressure on myself to be like: “Okay, it’s Tuesday, I must be creative.” I’m gonna see if there’s anything there first.

More often than not, I just don’t have the time or the strength to heft all the dots I want to connect in my mind. Finding the time to put it all down and having the skill to articulate it into a form that’s understandable by someone else—that’s the challenge. Rarely is it a case of “I’ve got nothing.” Sometimes when I’m really depressed, there’ll be nothing there because I’m grappling with depression. But as soon as that lifts an inch, I can get my fingers under the door, jam it open, and get out.