Seth Godin says no one ever gets talker’s block. Clearly, he’s never met me.
Granted, his point is that the cure for writer’s block is to write like we talk.
But what if you do get talker’s block?
Talker’s block is
1) not knowing what to say
2) choosing not to say something because you know it won’t be well-received
3) not having space and bandwidth to share your thoughts
Talker’s block is self-preservation to avoid the ire of those who can make your life miserable. It’s disagreeing with others but not having sufficient privilege to be able to absorb the repercussions that might ensue. It’s having someone else repeatedly take credit for your ideas and your work, and no one (including yourself) defend you. It’s having to explain why something violates your dignity, yet again.
He says people don’t get talker’s block because “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.” Sorry, Seth. I don’t have that privilege.
I have concern for every word, because whether or not it is blather, the default is that others will construe it as inane – or aggressive, emotional, combative. And it doesn’t just reflect on me, it reflects on everyone who is like me. As a minority in majority spaces and the only female, non-White, person under 40, I don’t have the privilege of assumed credibility.
Talker’s block isn’t a chosen state; it’s the result of a thousand paper cuts. Let's acknowledge that it's real instead of calling it imposter syndrome or a lack of self-confidence. If you've been repeatedly shut down in conversation, why would you keep talking? You learn that it's safer not to talk. Talker, blocked.
At least I don’t have writer’s block.