This post originally appeared, in part, on She Writes this week, but then I read a post on Writer Unboxed that piqued my curiosity-- how do writers deal with the concept of being "blocked"? What do you think?
I admit it. I'm guilty. I have pulled out the notebook or the blank page in Word, stared at it, sighed, typed, backspaced, scratched out and then given up claiming I have a bad case of...writer's block. I can't think. I can't create. My mind is a blank. I guess I'll go eat worms.
But the more I write, the more I'm beginning to believe the dreaded writer's block is a bunch of kerflooey--that's right, you read that made-up word correctly. Here's what I'm really beginning to believe:
There is no such thing as writer’s block, there are only blocked writers.
In fact, I not only think the concept isn't real, I think there may be a real danger in believing it into existence. We begin to talk about writer’s block as if it’s this external entity, a force we can’t avoid, like a virus swooping into our vulnerable systems at any moment, waiting to paralyze our minds and wreak havoc with our creative flow. I don’t buy it.
But when I turn that concept on its head a little, I see things differently. The focus shifts. If I believe I am a blocked artist, I will not passively wait for the block to lift but rather seek out ways to fuel my inner tank. The responsibility shifts. And when I recognize the pattern, instead of moping, I set about unblocking my soul and mind through creative means: journaling, hiking, music, a little pampering. In short, I try to break the routine and rut.
As one of my all-time favorite writers, Brenda Ueland, says:
So you see, imagination needs moodling—long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.
But today, at Writer Unboxed, Porter Anderson wrote a great article on the discipline of writing. His point being that self-defined and self-proclaimed artists may be overly worried about getting into a "writing rut" and maybe, really, we need to embrace the routine, the habits and, yes, the rut. Maybe the answer is not in catering to the block and finding ways to feed the artist but rather feeding the discipline.
Or maybe the truth lies somewhere in the mix of both views and isn't an either/or. Do you think it's a matter of personality or maybe even (opening can o' worms) a gender difference in how we deal with writer's block?
Keep Moodling or Writing,