Block Destruction is Part of your Art

One of the problems with writers’ block is that the very name sounds like some kind of disease. Diseases are scary and they need cures. Wait. Let’s go back for a moment. If you were paying attention, you may have noticed that I used the plural possessive form writers’ instead of the singular form writer’s. This is a good place to start. This so-called malady is not singular. It does not belong to you alone. It does not affect you alone. It is not an evil curse that haunts just you while all the other writers in the world smile while churning out thousands of poetic words a day. Everyone who sets words on paper, parchment, papyrus, or a computer screen experiences some kind of pause when the verbiage ceases to flow. You are not alone.

Once you have realized and accepted that bit of information, you’re already on your path towards block destruction. As long as you believe your lack of workflow is yours and yours alone you’ll never relax enough to get back on track.

Writing is indeed a strange game. We may feel that we are capturing the perfect words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs and wrestling them down to the page. For the most part, that is true. That’s why facing a block—when the writing doesn’t seem to happen—can cause such a sense of panic. We think, “oh no, I am out of words. My ideas are all gone, and I’ll never write again.” However, there is another part of the process that comes from beyond us. So many writers speak of the material that comes from some outside place. Writers all over the world have spoken of feeling like conduits for a flow of ideas that is channeled through them. This is not pure mysticism. It is a documented phenomena that artist throughout the ages have accepted as a source of inspiration and ideas. Creativity is an acknowledged element of the human condition.

So how does this affect and involve the writer who stares at a blank page and waits for words to come? For one thing, it removes a degree of personal pressure. Yes, we still have to do our research and keep our skills sharpened. But if inspiration and insight are seeking us even as we seek them, we can relax, unclench our jaws, and drop the walls of panic that keep us from connecting with our creativity. We’ll discuss more specific techniques for defeating our blocks in a future blog. Meanwhile, relax and allow the stream of creativity to flow around you.

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