Writing is hard work.
I don't personally ‘believe' in writer's block. I think you just need to put more into your brain in order to get stuff out of it again, which is why I love the research process. But I understand that many writers do ‘believe' in it.
So, in today's guest post, Ollin Morales from Courage To Create discusses writer's block.
Writer’s block is an often-misunderstood condition.
But the truth is, if you have writer’s block, that means that you cannot follow your passion because some sort of psychological, emotional, or spiritual baggage is keeping you from the pursuit.
Think of it this way: your natural state is a person who knows what they are meant to do and knows, in a general sense, how to proceed in fulfilling that passion.
A person in their natural state may not know what the future holds, may not know where their passion will lead them, may not know how to pursue their passion “perfectly,” but they DO know what their passion is, and they also know what they can do at this VERY MOMENT to take a step towards fulfilling that passion.
At any given moment, a person in their natural state (a.k.a. a person who is unblocked) knows:
1. What moves them the most right now. (What they are truly passionate about.)
2. What small action they can engage in—at this very moment—to act on this natural impulse.
If you a reading this and you don't have the answers to #1 or #2 above, then you are likely blocked.
A Metaphor To Help You Understand “The Block”
Think of a bathroom sink.
Now, if you don’t continually clean your sink, after a while, without you realizing it, stuff starts to get stuck in the drain: hair, trash, hair products, etc. Little by little all this stuff begins to add up, and suddenly, every time you go to use the sink, it takes longer and longer for the water to flow down into the drain. When your bathroom sink is clogged this makes doing simple tasks—like shaving, brushing your teeth, or combing your hair—all the more arduous. Therefore, the more you avoid unclogging your sink, the whole lot messier it gets for you every single morning when you have to get ready for your day.
Now, let’s imagine that this bathroom sink is you, and that “clogged drain” is your block.
At one point in your life, probably without realizing it, you began to avoid taking proper care yourself. For instance: you may have experienced several things in your life that you did not fully process when they first came up: a nasty break up, a loss of a job, a loss of faith, a family relationship that went awry—whatever it was it, it was not addressed (or processed) when it first came up and so it ended up causing a block in your system. Instead of making it all the way through you, that piece of unprocessed emotions, psychological baggage, or numbed spiritual signals got stuck in you; and because it got stuck in you, it is now blocking you from your full potential.
You, like that sink in our analogy, can no longer process things as quickly and as effectively as you used to. You cannot adequately get rid of all the “trash” that is starting to accumulate in your drain, and therefore you are stuck. What is supposed to flow very naturally through you now has a lot of trouble doing so. As a result, this makes day-to-day activities harder for you to execute.
Now, the more you ignore dealing with this clog in your system, the more problems it will cause for you.
Life drags along, and it gets harder and harder for you to move through day-to-day activities. Meanwhile, others seem to be zooming past you. Life works very easily for them. But, unlike everyone else around you, you struggle. (Everyone else’s drains are not as clogged as yours, you see.) Unlike them, you struggle to find that spark—that passion everyone says you need to be searching for. (Or you know your passion, but you struggle to start following that passion.)
Somewhere deep inside of you, you feel as if you have so much dragging you down, and this “dragging feeling” is exhausting and depleting your energy—energy you sense that you could be using to follow what moves you the most right now.
Something heavy, almost solid, is keeping you from doing what you naturally love to do.
What is that thing “dragging you down”?
That thing is your block.
If you are blocked, what you need to know is that the only thing that will make you feel better is if you start “unclogging that sink.”
The Remedy For Your Writer’s Block
Now, the cure for writer’s block is almost as complicated as its cure.
In order to cure yourself, you’re going to have to view yourself as a whole person. You’re going to have to address all the “five parts” of you:
– Your mind
– Your body
– Your heart
– Your community
– And your spirit
Up until now, you may have not taken addressing each of these parts of you very seriously. You may even think that none of these have to do with each other, nor that any of them have to do with your writing routine.
But if you are trying to write your novel, and notice that your anger, sadness, or feelings of frustration are getting in the way of your writing, you have to admit that your heart seems to be getting in the way of your writing at the moment, right?
Secondly, you may think that your body has nothing to do with being stuck right now, but if you feel exhausted, low in energy, or restless, and this is getting in the way of your writing, then you have to admit that your body seems to be getting in the way of your passion, correct?
You may think that your community has nothing to do with your writer’s block, but if a sense of loneliness, betrayal, or isolation has made an invisible wall rise between you and your creativity, you’ve got to admit that a lack of connection with your community is a serious impediment to you finishing your work, don’t you think so?
If your mind seems to be filled with worries, catastrophic scenarios of the future, and panicked thoughts, and this is preventing you from writing today, then you’ve gotta admit that your mind is getting in the way of your passion—no?
Finally, if you think your spirit has nothing to do with your writer’s block, but a sense of meaninglessness seems to hang on every word you write, preventing you from having any sustaining any continued inspiration, then you MUST admit that a lack of spiritual-connectedness may have something to do with your writer’s block, right?
You may have convinced yourself that writer’s block is just a slight hiccup in your writer’s journey, and that the cure to writer’s block is a quick fix, but then you wouldn’t be giving yourself enough credit: you are a complicated, multifaceted being, who needs deep love and attention.
Each part of you needs nourishment and care at all times, and the reason you are blocked is because you have not accepted this truth in your life. You keep neglecting your great responsibility to yourself as your soul’s keeper.
So stop neglecting yourself.
Give each part of you the attention it deserves today, and see all your blocks begin to dissolve away.
Do you have any questions or comments about writer's block? Please leave them below.
Ollin Morales is a fiction writer. His blog, Courage 2 Create, was named one of The Top Ten Blogs in the world by Write To Done two years in a row.
He just finished writing a book about how to cure writer’s block entitled “The Courage To Live: How To Remove Your Obstacles And Start Following Your Passion.” You can purchase his new eBook for your Kindle by going here.