There’s a ton said out there about writer’s block. The fact that it’s a word everyone has heard about like coffee or love or sky shows it must be a thing.
Do we name things that aren’t real?
But then there are a lot of writers who say there’s no such thing as writer’s block. It doesn’t exist. You can’t have writer’s block. Do people have work block? Or lawyer’s block? Or baker’s block? Pshaw!
They say that if you think you have writer’s block, just write. Then you won’t have it. Easy peasy.
And I’ve fallen into this camp. I believe them and tell myself that if people have writer’s block, they should just write. Even if all they write is “I don’t know what to write” over and over.
Freewriting is an excellent tool for sliding past writer’s block, I tell myself.
So last night on a coaching call about starting a project (business, work, creative endeavor) we were told to clarify the problem we want to solve for people with our project. And the words, “I want to use Byron Katie’s The Work to help writers with writer’s block” came out of my pen.
Oops. I thought I didn’t believe in writer’s block.
Ah, but others do. Not me, but others. Hmm, I’m starting to see a disconnect.
Let’s do The Work. I don’t believe in writer’s block. Is it true? No. What do you know? It seems I do believe in it.
Can I absolutely know that it’s true that I don’t believe in writer’s block? No. Apparently not. I can’t absolutely know quite what I believe about it at this moment. Plus, I’m ready to say I help people with it so how can I help people with something I don’t believe in?
How do I react and feel when I believe the thought, I don’t believe in writer’s block? Smug. Confused. Maybe a tad superior. I get in other people’s business, telling them in my mind that if they just sat down and did free writing, voila, problem solved! I may even be a little impatient with them when they aren’t producing writing when there’s writing needing to be produced.
When I say I don’t believe in it and I don’t write (but I don’t actually ask myself why), I feel trapped and guilty. I avoid writing. I pretend I don’t want to write.
Sounds kind of like writer’s block, doesn’t it?
Who or what would I be without the thought, I don’t believe in writer’s block? This one’s hard. I don’t know. I have to get still.
I’d be accepting of myself.
I’d be accepting of others. Humble, forgiving.
I’d be a woman writing.
And I’d allow others to call their stuff writer’s block.
Because that’s what it is. Stuff. We all have stuff. Unexplained pile ups of thoughts and beliefs that silts layer upon layer until we scrape or blast it away.
Turnaround: I do believe in writer’s block. Feels true now. I do. Oh, wow, I do because look at all of the times I never even “put butt in chair,” as the saying goes, and wrote.
Look at the times I was too busy or too tired or uninspired or overwhelmed.
Yeah, I do believe in writer’s block.
Here’s another turnaround: My thinking believes in writer’s block. Is that just as true?
Now that I’ve really gotten still, really met my mind and paid attention to what it’s thinking, I see that deep inside was a tiny little voice saying, “Writer’s block is real. If I pretend it doesn’t exist, it won’t happen to me. Meanwhile, I don’t feel like writing. But that’s not writer’s block because it doesn’t exist.”
Now I feel free about that thought. I’m being honest with myself.
I have writer’s block. Is it true?
Time for another worksheet.
Writer’s block by Steve Johnson from Pixabay
Empty chair by SeaReeds from Pixabay