Sunday, August 5, 2012

Playing With Blocks

Ready for a rambly post? Yes? All righty, then start reading:

Two of the questions I'm asking in my author interviews: "Do you believe in the dreaded writer's block? If so, how do YOU overcome it?"

Before I post the interviews, I want to get my opinion out there. This is my opinion, so it's not necessarily correct. It's not necessarily wrong, either, hahaha.

True or false: You sometimes sit before the blank screen, not knowing what to write. After a few minutes of staring at the blinking cursor, you shut the Word document and walk away.

Did you answer true? I did.


Fact or fiction: Something is out there keeping you from writing.

Sometimes fact is what I answered. Allow me to explain:

Sometimes YOU (or me, often) consciously or not become your own worst enemy. You say negative things to yourself like "I'm not a writer" and "I can't write" and "Who am I fooling?" With these ideas in your head, no wonder no words come to the surface when you show up to write. This is sabotage. IT becomes, or rather you ALLOW it to become, the BLOCK.

Other times, other people can do the same thing. Intentionally or not, they make you not want to write or feel good enough to write. Notice I didn't say that they made you not write--that's always up to you, no one else. But people can become a reason, a hindrance, an excuse.

See, the fiction is that there's this magical brain block that  appears out of nowhere. The fact is that each block has a name. Is it a parent who told you to stop writing because you're a hack? Then that parent becomes the block, AKA the excuse. Realizing who or what the block is is important, methinks.

I'm reading The Artist's Way. Julia Cameron talks about the well running dry or the fish pond running out of fish. Think about it: if you caught all the fish in the pond without replenishing, you would have no fish left to catch. Duh! So maybe sometimes it's not really a block. Maybe sometimes you just need some nurturing! In-put, out-put, what goes in must come out, ya know?

So, I've been struggling a little in the confidence department. The Artist's Way had me recall three of my creative "Monsters," or people who challenged my artistic worth. I'm sad to say that two of three were other artists. They are three of my blocks. How do I get past them??? (Note: The following is me, not TAW):

The first step to solving any problem is to admit that it is, in fact, a problem. So...

Step 1 to recovery: - "A" was wrong to be so hurtful and negative, "B" was wrong to tell me I was never going to make it, and "C" was wrong to laugh at me for asking questions.

But what if my block is something I said? Or what if it was something I DID and I'm still beating myself up over it (like submitting unpolished work to an agent)?

All righty, let's try this quote on for size:
"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." - Joseph Chilton Pearce

Say it with me: "I have done wrong...but that's all right."

There is forgiveness. There is learning. There is healing.

I've not yet worked entirely through my blocks, but I'll try to keep you posted on my progress. Another thing to keep in mind: It is you and you alone who allows things to block you. Others may throw blocks at you, but it is up to you to allow them to become big enough to block the way or not.

Take responsibility for your writing. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. And never EVER stop learning.

Ciao, pals.

What are your thoughts on writer's block?

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