Maneuvering Past Writer’s Block.

Via on Dec 27, 2012
Photo courtesy Drew Coffman
Photo courtesy Drew Coffman

I feel stuck.

I want to write, but can’t.

I’m passionate about the environment. Human rights. Animals. Politics. Relationships.

I love to write about most of those things as well as general life situations, but I haven’t written anything from my heart for far too long. It’s not that I don’t want to write, or that I’m uninspired. It’s just that I’m blocked.

Source: southernortherner.com via Lynn on Pinterest

Some examples of what I’d like to write about:

The story leading up to my 11-year old son saying, “Seriously, Mom. I’m not about to spend the rest of my life proving you wrong.”

My drinking escapades of years past. Why I used to drink a lot (especially in college—my roommate once found me passed out in the bunk bed with a half eaten spoonful of peanut butter) and why I hardly drink at all today.

My first sexual experience: rape. And how it shaped my future relationships and sex life. I could call it “Rape Shape.”

Am I a good enough mom?

My guilt over not being the perfect “green” person.

My New Year’s intention to walk downstream.

My parents are selling the farm. The seemingly never-ending pile of beautiful rocks—all shapes and sizes—behind the shed that I knew nothing about until this summer, why I’m collecting them and fear digging up the last one.

My addiction to socks.

The zen of cats… a photo essay.

Source: twitpic.com via Lynn on Pinterest

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Will learning to train dogs be the one thing that saves my brother?

How our prison system is failing the prisoners—and those of us on the outside.

My failed attempt at writing a trashy novel.

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And here I sit, unable to write.

There are moments—some of them longer than I care to admit—when I just sit here with my eyes riveted on the screen, willing myself to create. I stop myself, intimidated by other writers who write far more eloquently than I. My ability to bang out words is often brutally murdered by fear disguised as distraction.

Fear? Yes. Fear that you, dear reader, won’t react. You won’t like it. Fear that my post will sit on elephant with less than a hundred views.

Another problem is that I set the bar for my writing so high, as if I’m supposed to be the next Jerry Seinfeld or Oprah of the blogosphere. Read: setting myself up for huge failure. Translation: excuse not to write.

Yet, once those fingers of mine start tapping away at the keyboard, my brain picks up the signal to let go of the words that have been lodged inside the recesses of my brain.

Look at that. I’m writing. This is writing, isn’t it?

But it’s not enough. I yearn to tell you a story. To make you laugh or, at the very least, chuckle. To inspire you enough that you leave a comment that says, “Lynn, thank you so much! That really resonated with me! I’m a changed person because of you!” or “I never laughed so hard. You are so hilarious!” Yes, I’m aching for some attention—I blame the middle child in me and the fact that I work alone out of the house and don’t get out enough. (Note to self: Get out more.)

Getting attention isn’t the only reason I write because that would be somewhat pathetic (wouldn’t it?). I also write because I want to get the word out about an issue that’s important to me. Also, writing can be cathartic when I’m struggling with something (like writer’s block).

And putting words to paper is something I do much better than using my mouth to speak aloud—people seem to understand me better when I write. If I didn’t write, would I even exist?

When I get out of my own way and just toss a handful of letters into the air, they swirl together into a variety of combinations and lengths, and eventually fall to the proverbial page as words and sentences.

There will be no interruption. No eyebrow raise. No loss of eye contact or glance around the room in search of a better conversationalist.

The rejection may or may not come later, after my piece has been published. And it may be silent, anonymous, which I can handle better than the face-to-face rebuff.

So now I’m writing away here, wondering what’s keeping me from writing about the subjects I listed above. It’s a good question. Writer’s block is funny that way. It’s a blockage to flow, usually self-imposed as a way to protect oneself. That’s my theory, anyway.

I feel the block moving, gradually. I know it will return and that it’s up to me to work through it—or walk away from it—and eventually just remove the words from my vocabulary.

Thanks to Edie for writing about writing. It was after reading her piece that I decided to start this post and see what would happen.

~

Infographic with 16 tips to maneuver past writer’s block:

Source: tech18.com via Lynn on Pinterest

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About Lynn Hasselberger

Lynn Hasselberger lives in Chicagoland with her son, husband and two cats. She loves sunrises, running, yoga, chocolate, and NYR, and has a voracious appetite for comedy. In her spare time, she blogs at myEARTH360.com and LynnHasselberger.com. A "Green Diva" and social media addict, you'll most likely find Lynn on twitter (@LynnHasselbrgr & @myEARTH360) and facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking. Like her writing? Subscribe to her posts.

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18 Responses to “Maneuvering Past Writer’s Block.”

  1. Well Lynn,
    Any one of the topics you listed would make for interesting or intense reading but you don't have to address them if you don't feel inclined. I often have something on my mind as an interesting subject but if I don't nail it quickly it becomes less interesting to me as time goes by. I have to wonder if it was worth discussing at all once the passion for the topic wanes.. The bigger topics, ones that don't go away, get written in my mind at unlikely times and in pieces and so I make notes on scraps of paper again and again until one day all the scraps seem to miraculously form a composition.
    As for attention from readers, a person I consider wise told me that the best work is usually not the most popular among the general population so numbers don't equal value.
    You are a consistent writer who offers important and ambitious information and I appreciate it. It helps that you send prompts to look at it as I rarely cruise the web.
    When you feel like writing something more personal, dare I suggest that you just write it for yourself and not care a bit what anyone else thinks? I suspect you will have a good number of viewers who trust you as a selfless writer.

  2. Harold Gardner says:

    When I have this problem, it get's called lazy butt. I am not saying who says it…just saying it is said.

    Seriously there is some middle ground here. Sometimes I think we do just have to grind it out. Five hundred words or a thousand, we need to grind to the goal. Sometimes it is just to get to the daily nirvana of not having to write any more that day.

    There also has to be at least some time when the words flow eloquently. My big issue there is to stay out of the way of myself. Sometimes I foul up by trying to edit or fact check with the flow is going. I am finally starting to realize there will be plenty of time cleaning up later.

    My personal goal…interesting I made that goad to start…is to write enough during the moments of good flow that I have fodder to work with when I am grinding. It is funny for me how often a new piece comes from polishing something I had previously written.

  3. Edie Lazenby Edie says:

    I agree: views don't always mean strong writing. Listen to your heart.
    Get Natalie Goldberg or listen to Stephen King' s book on writing.
    Do "morning pages" ~~ u remember The Artist's Way? Get a writing buddy to meet and sit together and write…talk after.

    Good piece. Honored I inspired you. Sometimes I write a lot and others no. Being Vata/ Pitta shun regimen and schedules.

    Find a place to write ideas as they hit u. I use my iPhone notes.

    Sending hugs!

  4. That's great. I'll share this with Deborah… :-)

  5. Carolyn Riker Carolyn says:

    LOVE this….story of my life….pun intended. I totally get the fear thing and what ifs. Keep writing until the block passes. It will. The love of words always wins the battle from within.

  6. Rob Pollak Rob Pollak says:

    Thanks so much, Lynn! That really resonated with me!

    I bet everyone who writes has felt these things. I know I have. The Artists Way helped me a lot as did the Willpower Instinct. For me, they both provided temporary relief, but I found them helpful at times when I felt the most stuck. Good luck!

    • Thanks, Rob. LOL about you saying it "resonated" with you. I'm sure every writer has and that's why there's so much written about it. The Artists Way is great, but I hadn't heard of the Willpower Instinct. Thanks for the suggestion and also for leaving a comment. Happy Holidays!

  7. Beth says:

    This made me want to write again. It has been almost a year…thank you

  8. Edward Staskus says:

    The Calvin cartoon pretty much says it all: writer's block is the block you put on your desk so you won't have to get to work. Writing is like anything else. I think you either do it or you don't do it. I don't agree that reading what other writer's have written about writing is helpful. I do think that reading as much as possible is very helpful, or as Mark Twain would say, damned helpful. About what your 11-year-old said, if it was me I would interview him about that, on tape, or take notes. For some reason it sounds like it could be something good.

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