For Saturday, November 7, 2015:
“I tell my students there is such a thing as ‘writer’s block,’ and they should respect it. You shouldn’t write through it. It’s blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven’t got it right now.”
Finally! Someone who recognizes the reality that writer’s block sometimes can be insurmountable! Now I don’t feel so guilty that my work-in-progress has ground to a halt. My attempts to try and jumpstart it again just haven’t worked. I’ve told myself that something — or someone? — great is waiting to come forward, but I thought I was just trying to placate myself with platitudes and excuses.
Yes, there are times when writer’s block is procrastination. There are times when we just don’t work hard enough to get over or through a troublesome scene or concept. If we can admit that to ourselves, then I think we’re a long way toward overcoming that particular barrier. On the other hand, though, ‘life’ happens: we or loved ones get sick, responsibilities pile up, unexpected things pull at us and our time and our energies. We must give ourselves permission to rest, even coast, when a legitimate block occurs. Getting frustrated or angry will only defeat our attempts to try and climb over that wall.
As I’ve been writing this post, it’s occurred to me that perhaps writer’s block is similar to prayer. People of faith know what a dry spell in one’s prayer life feels like. A famous theologian, whose name escapes me now, assures us that our intent in prayer is as effective as prayerful words. Could it be that our intent in writing can indicate if writer’s block is genuine or not? If we still hold our characters, plot, concept in mind and heart, perhaps they are still there, waiting for something none of us knows about yet.
What do you think? I kind of like that idea.