Ien, our favorite guest blogger, brought a topic to the table (and by table, I mean FB table) that struck me as deeply, profoundly important: Writers’ Block.
We’ve all read about the various manifestations of it. Some have experienced each and every one of them. Twice. We’ve read tips and tricks on how to clear those hurdles…but what struck me is how universal a process this is for us. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had moments where the pen (keyboard–shut-up) feels too heavy, the words feel like razors and the story itself—our beloved—is for all practical purposes sleeping on the couch.
It isn’t going away either. It wounds us, but I wonder…does it wound us because we fight it? What if the manifestation has a purpose? It reminds me of a child I once knew who was terrified of diving into the pool. He wasn’t afraid of water, or swimming, or even in hitting the water…it was the jumping that got him. He would dread it like the plague if I pushed him to go give it a shot (I babysat him for years). What if we learned to embrace it. I don’t mean love it. This kid, now a freshman in college, still fears jumping. But, the last time we talked about it, he said something that really caught my attention: “I use it as momentum for the dive–that fear sends me higher and gives me power that I wouldn’t have if I weren’t still afraid.”
I don’t know how to begin putting this bit of advice into play, to be honest. But, I’m looking forward to breaking it open and looking at it closer. So far it feels like one of those painful deep tissue massages: hurts like hell at first, but relaxes places I didn’t know were tense.
The reason this topic was brought up for conversation was because of another author who stated that writers block isn’t real. Or rather, the author stated that acknowledging it is hiding behind it as an excuse to not be productive. I suppose I’m stating the opposite. I think not acknowledging that it is occasionally part of the process can be damaging. Sort of like when my father will push through a round of golf with a slipped vertebra in his back because, “…nothing’s wrong.”
Something is wrong. But, that’s ok. Something’s wrong for me too. For all of us. At some time or another, we’ll all be in that seat. We’ll carve our name on the wall in that diner and we’ll smile when we realize that we’re not alone.
And next time…we’ll know not to stick our hand under the table…