OK, so let’s do something different. Today, it’s writer’s therapy. We’re together in a classroom with dingy tile floors and overly bright fluorescent lights and the subject is “Writer’s Block.”
I’m the moderator of this shindig, a recovering (and, often, relapsing) “blocked writer,” and you are all (whether bloggers or not) here because you have, at one time or another, suffered from this condition, writer’s block.
I begin by writing something on the chalk board, a quote from William Stafford. “There is no such thing as writers’ block for writers whose standards are low enough.” After writing, I turn to face you, my audience. I’m wearing denim jeans and an over-sized sweatshirt. I ask for your interpretation of this quote.
Class has begun.
Writer’s block. As a blogger who tries to write on a regular basis about the nonsense in my life, about motherhood, and all that jazz, I’ve been there, often.
From experience, a writer’s block can be frustrating, time consuming, and, well, confusing. When faced with a writer’s block, it’s easy for me to try to convince myself that it’s because I don’t have anything to write or the time to write. But, really, at the heart my writer’s blocks are always issues of self-censorship.
“Nothing sounds good enough.” “Nothing makes sense.” “Who really cares about this crap anyway.”These are thoughts that propel my writer’s blocks.
And because nothing sounds good enough, makes sense, and no one cares, then why write? That’s self-censorship.
It’s censorship that results, as William Stafford suggests in his quote, from taking oneself, myself, too seriously. It’s censorship that results from a desire to create the greatest of something, to out-do yourself and previous works that were well received by others (as measured by comments, tweets, emails, etc.).
You sit down to create that next great work and can’t, then feel like an idiot, unworthy of the college degree you once earned, the chair you’re sitting in, or of being called a writer/blogger.
My natural inclination when faced with a writer’s block is to not write or stop writing until a great idea comes to me, but I’ve learned that by not writing that idea never comes.
I’ve learned through regularly blogging that rather than stopping your writing, continue writing. Like me, you should write crap, utter nonsense that you plan (keyword: plan) for no one else to read but yourself. Keep writing and eventually something good will happen.
Write and be willing to sometimes hit the delete key or throw things out.
Write when inspired.
Write down good ideas that occur to you throughout the day and try pursuing them as best you can.
Revisit something you began writing previously but abandoned due to a “lack of ideas.”
Share your writings with those closest to you and ask, yes ask, for their thoughts, remembering that whatever they say cannot and will not break you as a writer/blogger.
So write, my friend, write to your heart’s content and feel unashamed of that which you do write!