Thursday, July 10, 2014

Breaking the block

It happens more often than I'd like that I wake up on a Thursday morning and realize that I once again forgot to come up with a blog post. Well, I may have some bad tomato karma (up yours, fusilium crown and root rot), but apparently the gods of blogging are smiling on me, because today I found this post on how successful writers deal with writer's block.

I've read some of the advice in the article before - taking a walk often works for minor writer's block for me - but I hadn't thought of this one piece of advice from a  New Yorker writer:
"A thing I do, if writing isn’t going well, is to write out something I really love, like one of Keats’ odes or a bit of a poem by Elizabeth Bishop or even a few sentences from Woolf or the Gospel of John. It’s nice to remember what can be done with words always but especially when it seems like you can’t seem to do anything with them."

I've gone through writer's block. It was during a rather dark period of my life overall, and I don't really like to think about it all that much. In my case, the solution was to just start writing something silly – a story that I liked, but I had no interest in ever publishing. And I never did publish it, and I never finished it. It was some silly thing with like twelve main characters. And by the time I finished writing the outline and the character profiles, I got bored with both that story and over the idea that I couldn't write, and was able to move on to other things.

More recently, I've learned that the first step to confronting any fear, is to bring it out and treat it to the bright light of day. It's kind of amazing how frail and weak those long-held fears can seem once we gain the courage to actual air them out.

My writing fears want me to know that I've never written anything good in my life, that no one will ever like what I write, and that I'm not going to have a good time working on my writing tonight.

And really, when I look at those words on their own, my writer's block is kind of a whiny jerk, and not interesting or powerful at all. That's not to say that I won't forget this next time I become insecure, because long-learned fears aren't so easily rooted out.

What ridiculous things does your writer's block try to tell you?

1 comment:

  1. My writer's block tells me that I am lazy, that I am not educated enough in the art of writing and that I don't have the marketing skills to ever make this my profession. But especially that I ought to be able to have written so much MORE given how much time I've devoted to this pasttime. I love the idea of writing out something beautiful. I also think it is fun to take something I love and add it in to something I'm writing.


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