I’ve tried all my usual tricks~reading my favorite “writers on writing,” taking a long walk in the park, playing some Mozart at the piano, uncorking a new bottle of Shiraz straight from Australia~nothing’s working. You would think after almost a week of not writing that my mind would be bursting with things to say, that words would be foaming up in the well of my imagination, that ideas would be fighting their way through my fingers and onto the page.
In fact, I believe I’m suffering from writer’s block, and it’s really quite frightening.
Since I started writing on a regular basis about a year ago, I’ve never been at a loss for ideas. On the contrary, I usually had more things to say than I had time to say them. Admittedly, my life in the past few weeks has not been at all conducive toward the gestation of creative ideas. It’s actually been quite emotionally and physically draining, so I’ve been telling myself that this creative dry spell is normal under the circumstances.
It’s more than just not feeling like writing…I’ve been there many times, thinking back to the NaNoWriMo days, when I was determined to get those 50,000 words on the screen by the end of the month. Somehow, just getting in front of the page, letting a few words trickle on to the screen, acted like priming the pump, and the words would then begin to flow until I was treading through waves of them.
But today, I really feel like writing, I have that vicseral sensation of wanting to put words down on paper, but the words that come to me aren’t satisfying, they don’t convey anything like the feelings or ideas they’re meant to convey. They seem banal, worthless, just plain bad.
There’s a devlish little voice inside of me saying, “Relax, you’ve had a hard week, just drink your wine, watch American Idol on TV, forget about this whole writing thing…it’s dumb anyway. What good is ever going to come of it? Why waste your time?” I have to admit, I’m very tempted to heed that naughty advice. It would certainly be easier to lie on the couch for the remainder of the evening, letting my mind succumb to the mindless entertainment provided by reality shows and reruns.
However, I much prefer the stimulating conversations I’ve grown accustomed to having with myself, and with all the other writers out in blogland, the friends I’ve come to know in the past year who use words to make sense of their lives and the world around us. And I’m afraid ~ fearful that my ability to participate in those coversations is on the wane.
Julia Cameron says that an artist’s blocks are “artistic defenses against what is perceived (rightly or wrongly) as a hostile environment.” She recommends “blasting through the blocks,” by thinking about what’s holding you back from continuing with your work. “What resentments, anger, fears, might you be suppressing that act like a restraint on your creative thoughts?”
Resentment? I resent never having enough time to write, that’s true. Anger? Yeah, I’ve been angry lately, with the world in general, about a long list of things that range from the trivial to the horrendous, and all of which serve to make life more difficult. Fear? Well, who isn’t fearful, in a world gone mad with destruction and hatred? Could these negative emotions have solidifed into creative roadblocks that derail imagination and spirit? And, if so, how do I “blast through them,” allowing a passageway back to creative thought and expression?
In the past few weeks, circumstances have collided, making me feel as if life were completely out of control. Perhaps I need to take the reins of my life in a postive way in order to start chipping away at those blocks of resentment, anger, and fear. Perhaps then I can open the door and welcome all the words back into my head.
So, how about you? Have you ever felt your creative spirit blocked by resentment, anger, or fear? How did you “blast through the block?”