There’s a scene in Never Been Kissed where the main character Josie, who is a writer, receives such great news that she becomes speechless. She has no words.
“That’s never happened to me!” she squeals excitedly. “Words are my life!”
Well, I found myself waking up to that same realization recently. Only, the speechlessness wasn’t momentary, it lasted for over a year. And the cause wasn’t something amazing happening in my life, it was the dreaded writer’s block finding another victim.
The realization that I had somehow gone months without feeling inspired to express anything, much less put the pen to paper, made me panicked. All of a sudden, I felt like Ariel in the Little Mermaid, helpless without her voice.
Yet, for all my desire to get something out, I couldn’t quite figure out what that something was supposed to be. I didn’t feel like I had anything to say and yet something inside of me begged to let it out. The dichotomy had me frozen in confusion.
“Writer’s block,” my cousin say. “Write about that.”
Hmm, what a novel idea. Frankly, I had always assumed writer’s block was something that only lasted a few days or, at most, a couple of weeks. And I had always assumed that it only came up when one was working on a specific piece. I didn’t think it came up between works.
But as I dug deeper (ha, Wikipedia. I went to Wikipedia), I learned that writer’s block describes a condition where either a writer experiences a drop in creativity during the writing process (what I thought) or a writer is unable to produce new work at all. And evidently, it can be so bad that it can prevent writers from producing any new work for years!
Even more interesting were the causes behind writer’s block. Some of them include:
- A writer running out of inspiration or becoming distracted by other life events.
- Creativity being blocked by stressful circumstances in the writer’s life, such as depression, the end of a relationship or financial problems.
- The author’s creativity drying up in response to the pressure to produce something – anything!
- The writer feeling so intimidated by their past successes that they’re rendered impotent.
And I absolutely loved this excerpt from Wikipedia: “James Adams notes in his book, Conceptual Blockbusting, various reasons blocks occur include fear of taking a risk, “chaos” in the pre-writing stage, judging versus generating ideas, an inability to incubate ideas, or a lack of motivation.”
I started reflecting a bit on what was really causing my creativity blockage. Why have I only been able to write one blog in the last 13 months? Why do I have three unfinished drafts of blogs right now? What happened to the opinionated, introspective, mindful woman I used to be?
It wasn’t long before I started recalling some thoughts that I have had before, during or after any recent attempts to write: