I can’t help but feel blessed to be able to say that, of the great many issues and challenges I have faced as a writer, writer’s block hasn’t been one of them. Oh, sure, I have moments where I freeze up, where I don’t know what I want to write but, for me, it’s more a matter of narrowing down than it is of needing things to write.
See, the way I am built, my mind is always working, always ticking away, and I can’t help but get a dozen ideas a day for things I think would be interesting to write. OR at least would interest me. Life inspires me. The simple act of actively living inspires me. And the people I know, the places I go, and the things I see, hear, and feel inspire me. For me, the problem has always been focusing on project at a time. I have just enough ADD that I will begin a story and, unless I can finish it right away, will get distracted and leave the story behind. Worse yet are the stories on scraps of paper or in my head. I have so many ideas that I have yet to take the time to flesh out that it sometimes drives me crazy. Even writing this I am getting distracted though, I’ll blame a three night visit by a blood thirsty killer bat (ok, so I made the blood thirtsy part up since, you know, I am a writer) and some lack of sleep for that.
I think the hardest thing for a writer to do is to take all of the voices we have in our heads and to filter them down until we can get a story from them. If you’re open to them, ideas are everywhere, it’s more a matter of what you are ready or want to write than it is a matter of not enough inspiration. I remember driving one day to an office cleaning job I had and I drove past a house I had seen dozens of times and not once did I think twice about it until one day something just switched on in me and I thought – god that looks like a doll house. That was all it took and suddenly I had the the initial idea for a story. And that’s how it works, not just for me but for everyone. I think that we writers get so wrapped up in looking for the ‘perfect’ story that we just forget how to tell stories.
We get so wrapped up in wanting to write these works of beauty and art and magic that we psych ourselves out and as soon as that happens it’s like flooding the engine of your car (if that still can even happen) – you just freeze up.
That’s when you have to take a step back.
You have to take a breath.
You have to relax.
For me, if I feel frustrated with writing stories, or am not feeling that magic ‘it’ I’ll write a blog. Or I’ll write a movie review. Or I’ll paint. Or I’ll take pictures. Or I’ll draw. I am learning, bit by bit, to spread my passion out so that I never get sick of any one thing and I direct all of it to serve the same inspiration that drives my writing.
Inspiration and blockages are born of the same passion that drives all of us. They serve as the Yin and the Yang of all artistic pursuits. I think we’re trained to see one as good though and the other as bad when, that isn’t necessarily the case.
The thing about writer’s block is this – it’s as much your body and mind telling you something as anything else. Sometimes we push too hard when, if we do it right, writing should come as a natural part of our creativity. We shouldn’t have to push. Maybe a block is our way of telling ourselves to slow the hell down, to walk away for a while, and to give your mind and body time to think about something else for a while.
Blockage and inspiration are everywhere, and both can be either boon or bane, it’s all just a matter of how you look at it and what you’re ready for as a writer or hell, any type of artist. Often we close ourselves off to the very things that are meant to spur us on, push us forward, or, sometimes even slow us down. Maybe we need to take more time looking at WHY we are going through the block and what is inspiring us and why, so we can better appreciate both when we find them.