Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Write On Wednesday-Blocked

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.

Not so.

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'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?"



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had my creative spirit blocked by resentment, anger and fear. And, as they say, "the only way through it, is to do it." It may be a trite saying, but I applied it to myself and I just kept writing-- good or bad.

The odd thing is that much of what I wrote that I thought was dribble was very well received by my readers. Which brought me to the conclusion that I over edit myself.

Blogger deirdre said...

Several years ago my writing group published a chapbook and I completely freaked out and stopped writing. Couldn't squeeze out a word to save my soul. It frightened me terribly to think that part of my life might be done, that the stories would stop and the voices never speak again. It lasted two or three years, and though I wrote in the group setting, I didn't at any other time. After losing my sister I retreated to almost total silence and didn't begin writing again for months. There are still periods like that but I've learned to trust the silence to show me other things. I promise you this will pass. The field needs to lie fallow sometimes. And besides, look at what you've written today. :)

Blogger Tammy said...

Don't worry Becca you are so talented that it will come back. When I take a break or I'm angry at something I can't jump back in quickly. My head must sort my crap and take baby motivating steps. (I missed you) XXOO

P.S. I'm routing for Jordon on Idol. :)

Blogger jzr said...

This too shall pass! Some afternoon when you aren't obsessing about writing, you'll be struck with inspiration and you'll be back at it until the next time. Unfortunately every writer experiences it at one time or another. With me it is often. I try to imagine a loaf of bread rising very, very slowly as it bakes. And that when it's finished "cooking" it will be really delicious and well worth the wait!

Anonymous bella said...

Oh, Becca - it's so good to see you "around" again. The muse is hiding out being covered by all of these other emotions, huh? I know the creativity will come back, because it's in you. I know that you will be back with words that flow like a soft stream, just give it time. It cannot be forced.
Otherwise, I hope you're doing well!

Blogger Tori said...

Welcome back Becca!
I love your paragraph about resentment, anger, fear...
Even when you are having a block you write such thoughtful and lovely posts.
All day I can have ideas and wonderful sentences swimming around in my head and as soon as I sit down at the keyboard I am blank.

Blogger Mimi Lenox said...

Are you kidding? Writer's block about.....hmmmm....3x a day. The blank page (or screen) has become a challenge to me lately, however, and not a fear.
Sometimes my best writing pours out when I'm officially "blocked.
The anger and angst will make its way to the surface and weave a hopeful story.
It has to.
Good writing begins with inner conflict.

KEEP AT IT. I'll take a purposeful and passionate rant anyday over pretty milktoast words.

By the way, you've been chosen as Peace Globe Blogger of the day on BlogBlast For Peace for April 27, 2007. Congratulations!

Mimi Lenox

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I had something wise to add, but I am there with you right now. Although at this point, it is very much a desire NOT to write. I want to read, to rest, and then to read some more.

It is a difficult balance to strike...when is a rest just a "rest" and when is it avoidance? Right now...I do not know. So I keep asking myself what you are asking yourself, albeit in a less eloquent way.

I DO know that it always comes back, and it will come back, if you just keep putting words to paper, words to paper.


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