You know you can write, you have degrees and diplomas or maybe a General Equivalency that says so. Plus your mama always loves your sentiments at the end of your Christmas cards… it just ain’t Christmas without those sentiments.
But when it comes to writing down ideas, those ideas being new stories, or poems, or scripts you get *puht!*… *ka-puht!*… stall. The idea fountain is dry.
And you say “Why is this happening? My pen gots no ink, man!!” You have the block. Writer’s Block. Or do you?
I’m going to tell you something that sounds impossible: Writer’s Block does not exist.
It’s true. It doesn’t. Before you go calling bullshit on me, lemme explain. I may be mad, but there’s a method in it. Hear me out.
Do we expect painters to paint something every day or every week? Do we think that a musician has to come up with a new song every two days? No, they paint and they make melodies as the inspiration or idea strikes them… so why is the same not true for this art form we call writing?
I think part of the reason is because everyone can write. Not the same for painting or playing an instrument. Those of us ignorant in these methods of expression just assume their esoteric ways are as they are and those who have mastered these forms of art can take however long they need to. But we all can write. We all find it easy to say our ABC’s and string them along into an orderly march across screen and loose leaf notebook paper. So why can’t a writer write every day, all the time?
The simple answer is you’re not supposed to! Sure, you can if you want to. But the key in that sentence is want to. But if you don’t want to, then you’re forcing yourself to sit at a desk and expecting to making magic happen. And you wonder why nothing’s coming.
It’s not Writer’s Block. It’s just your natural mind revolting against chains. It’s our self-evident state of being to be free. Whether you’re chained to a penitentiary work gang or a desk, chains are still chains. It’s a compound problem, because after trying to force yourself to write a few times and not getting anywhere, the next time you sit down you’re thinking about your last failed attempts to achieve something meaningful and the pressure to produce starts growing in your mind along with self doubt.
Simply put, you can’t get your pen up. Ladies who have experienced this, now you know how some men feel.
Unfortunately, there’s no Viagra for writers. But you don’t have to be stuck with pen dysfunction. Here’s what you do.
First you’ve got to understand you. If you have ideas but when you sit down to write them your mind starts to meander to other things, then you’ve got to self check. Chances are you’re just a lazy bastard who fundamentally understands that writing well takes work and you don’t really want to work. If so, see my previous post on destroying this demon.
If you go to write but the pressure and thoughts of past failures and a slew of self doubt barrages you and there’s absolutely nothing on this planet or the next you can think of to write about, the solution is simple. Let writing go for awhile. Life is out there. It has a way of inspiring people. Discover. Laugh. Drink. Play. Understand that you’re not built to produce creative writing every day of the week, 365 days plus 1 on leap years. Create when you’re supposed to, which is invariably when you want to.
Don’t get me wrong, this approach must be taken with caution. Even if you love writing, there’s a bit of lazy bastard in all of us… so make sure your distractions don’t become the main attraction. Enjoying your life will rejuvenate your soul. Your soul puts ink in the pen. All I ask is when your pen is full of ink, watch where you point that thing.