Every writer worth their salt has had some dealing with writer’s block in some form or another. If you are a writer, who is not writing, you tend to think of yourself in all manner of things mostly bad. Shirker, lazy, undisciplined, a failure, a wanna be, a pretender.
Why do we do that?
Writer’s block is a temporary thing, and is almost always regarded as an undesirable and unpleasant experience. What if we looked at this from a different angle? What if, — and I know this is going to sound ‘fly in the face of traditional thinking’ –( there I go with that rebel streak again) a writer’s block is your unconscious mind telling you that you need to rethink your story? What if it’s not a passive state, not being lazy or undisciplined at all, but rather an aggressive reaction to something being not quite right?
“Our unconscious creates while our ego edits.” Carolyn Kizer states.
The temporary inability to continue writing is nothing more than your unconscious mind vetoing your current plan. Our inner editor manufactures dozens of reasons why not, why it’s wrong and doesn’t always bother to consult with our conscious mind as to why. While we self sabotage with degrading self talk (you no good dirty rotten lazy undisciplined worm! And you call yourself a writer? ) we are waiting for our ego/editor and unconscious/ creator selves to duke it out. It’s never a conscious choice. Usually some other barrier within our psyche, dueling internal opposing kingdoms fighting over borders, trying to squeeze a spy into the other camp, or trying to kill the opposition’s spies from getting through. The block is when you are trying to establish diplomatic relations between the tyrannical ruler of the ego/editor and the temper tantrum fits of the childlike creator.
Can’t we all just get along?
So how do we re-establish good terms between the two warring parties? Both are adamantly demanding their own ways while you stare at a blank screen or tap your pen on the paper.
Don’t shout me down because I hit a nerve! We all do it, just admit it!
The answer I believe lies in a part of our psyche that we seldom want to evaluate. Self love. WAIT, don’t run out on me, hear me out. This is not being narcissistic and in love with yourself. If you have that issue, good luck with that. That’s not what I am talking about here.
Self love, the opposite of what we do. You know that debasing self talk that we resort to when we hit the writers block wall? We need to learn to accept ourselves. Embrace our idiosyncracies, our faults, our uniqueness – rejoice in the fact that we aren’t mindless clones or lemmings. Permission to be ourselves. Permission to give in to the nerdgasms, the dork within us, the superstar in our dreams even though on the outside we look like the 50 pound weakling in underoos. Self love baby, realizing our own worth instead of ridiculing ourselves for being different.
Release that inner child that wants to be a superhero, embrace the princes in the tutu that wields the sword! Once we allow our creative inner self out to play, and not force him/her into a daily grind or all work and no play the two kingdoms can coexist. The tyrant king might actually crack a smile to see the delightful child playing.
Here’s how it happens for me. Life gets hectic, work demands climb, leaving no time to write. My brain goes on mandatory overtime burning the candle at both ends with candles linked together in a continuous chain. Weariness sets in, the overachiever, performance oriented perfectionist pushes aside the playful creative child and says grow up! We have work to do! Get with the program, straighten up and fly right! This is when the inner child rebels. Oh, she looks like she’s sitting in the corner over there brows furrowed, glaring with the scowl but it’s an illusion because she left and generated a holographic image and she’s out flying high above the rooftops. (WHAT? You said fly right!)
This is when communication is lost and the tyrannical ruler demands more work. The child is silent. The king sits on the throne demanding output to no avail. We have reached a stalemate or in writer’s terms – the block. It’s a simple matter really. You have to allow the child time to play, time to be creative, and give praise so that he/she will listen to the king. Work gets done, the king is less tyrannical, the child less of a brat, and everyone gets what they want.
Stop telling yourself to put off your happiness until you reach x destination. Enjoy right now!
Are you foregoing vacations because work demands never allow you a rasonable break when to take off? Are you waiting till you move to the country to get outside because the city noise is too much? Are you waiting till your children are grown and gone to do anything for yourself? My inner child says I want to enjoy my life RIGHT NOW! I don’t want to wait, don’t want to put it off. How do you even know you are going to have a tomorrow? I can’t go days and days without having some fun, it literally kills my creativeness.
I don’t want to get to the end of my life and wish I’d lived, wished I’d gone for it when I had the chance. I want to cram as much gusto into the days I have on earth. I want to get to the end and say – WOW What a ride!
So, anyway that’s my theory on writer’s block, essentially not letting the inner child have some fun.
Either that or I’m completely off my rocker. Well, I’m having fun with it so who cares.
Hey, if you got a better plan I’m all ears and ready to hear it. Lay it on me jack!
So go write something and let your inner child play!
Write on my friends, write on!