When Radiohead started recording their follow-up album to Ok Computers, Thom Yorke had nothing ready. He confessed he was battling with writer’s block and said, “I felt like I was going crazy. Every time I picked up a guitar I just got the horrors. I would start writing a song, stop after 16 bars, hide it away in a drawer, look at it again, tear it up, destroy it… I was sinking down and down.”
Except writer’s block isn’t real. It’s fake. Sure, writers can talk themselves into thinking they are blocked. That what they have to say isn’t any good. Then again, we sometimes are so harsh on ourselves we might not be very good at deciphering what the market likes either.
It’s not like Yorke forgot how to write a song. He might have thought the songs he was writing were not the quality he set with Ok Computers–considered by many today as one of the greatest albums of all time. That’s a high bar to clear for anyone. We might write something that could be considered a masterpiece by only a few.
Kid A after receiving mixed reviews would later be named a top 20 album in Rolling Stone’s list of Top 500 Albums of All Time.
It’s frustrating not being able to convey what you feel–to get the words just right. The good news is we are not suffering from a condition with no treatment.