Let it be known that writer’s block is the pits.
For me, writing is therapy; it’s not something I do because I enjoy it or because I’m told I have a knack for it. Rather, I do it because it’s the only way to exorcise the demons scrambling for space inside my body.
Maybe I shouldn’t call them demons, because demons are “bad”. My ideas aren’t all bad.
There is just no other way to put it. If I tried to describe it in another way, it wouldn’t be genuine. The concept of “exorcism” exemplifies the profound relief that comes from writing. The best times are the times when I start writing with one intent, and come out the other end pleasantly exhausted and with ideas on paper that I didn’t even know I had. It’s an almost out-of-body experience, reading over something that I find intriguing and devourable, and realizing that somehow, some way, those words and concepts and characters sprang from my subconscious to my fingertips. And for a while, I feel just a little bit lighter, a little more carefree and buoyant. Those things are gone now; they are on paper. No longer do they clog up the nooks and crannies of my brain – a place I’m convinced must look like the inside of Costco after an earthquake (and that’s on a good day).
So when I sit down, ready to make progress and pick up where my previous exorcism left off, and then feel that familiar, cotton-headed nothing…..?
It doesn’t get any worse than that.
Writer’s block springs up, uninvited, inhibiting the most important receptors of the brain. It’s like going into the supermarket with your shopping list and finding brick walls at the start of every aisle. Or, worse, finding that the supermarket shelves are empty and realizing (though you know you are dreaming) you have been wandering around the store stark naked.
You can just hear the laughter at your expense.
It’s the worst, really.
I’m in a grip of writer’s block so fierce right now, I don’t even know if I’m in the supermarket any longer. There are brick walls on every side, but though I can’t see anything, I can still hear the amused laughter on the other side of the wall.
Perhaps the walls are like one-sided mirrors. Perhaps I’m still naked, and that’s why they’re all laughing.
Perhaps they’re all laughing as they pore over a copy of my latest manuscript, cackling at spelling and continuity errors while poking fun at my unlikeable characters and cumbersome sentences.
Perhaps the reason I can’t find my way back to my characters and plot twists is because I’ve already taken a wrong turn somewhere. Would deleting a few pages and starting back up again help demolish the brick walls in my brain?
But, frankly, I’ve never found a way around this horrific thing they call “writer’s block”. I’ve never discovered a cure or a magical trick to speed up its departure. Inspiration comes when it wants to, and we as writers are left solely at Inspiration’s mercy.
So, perhaps I should stop kicking myself. It won’t last forever. It can’t…right?