March 2, 2016

Why Writer’s Block is Bullsh*t.

Tatiana Lapia/Unsplash

You may think you’ve experienced writer’s block, and maybe you’ve had a moment or two at your laptop that felt like a blank slate or worse.

But here’s why writer’s block is bullsh*t and how you can assure you never have to use that term when describing your creative process ever again:

1. What you call writer’s block, I call a lapse of consciousness.
2. What you call writer’s block, I call a problem with your inner critic.
3. What you call writer’s block, I call a need for some Feng Shui.
4. What you call writer’s block, I call a temporary disconnect from an unlimited source.
5. What you call writer’s block, I call bullsh*t—because a writer can have a great peanut butter sandwich and realize the next idea about what they want to write about sits in between the slices of bread.

Ever since I started writing as a teenager, I’ve never experienced anything I’d call writer’s block. My journals always fill themselves easily. My books come from what seems to be a limitless source. And my blogs and articles? Well, let’s just say I have no problem writing about Scotch Tape, because not only are ideas that inspire me everywhere but anything will inspire me to write.

Am I just lucky? I don’t think so.

Ultimately I feel writer’s block stems from a momentary lack of awareness and I’m going to show you how all five scenarios described above get back to this simple idea.

When you’re stuck and can’t seem to find the way out of that quicksand of emptiness, you think you’re stuck in a quicksand of emptiness. In other words, you believe you have writer’s block, so you do.

If it was as easy as thinking your way out of this, you’d have done it by now, right? Well, sorry to tell you—it is that easy. Problem is, you believe what you think. And when you think you’re stuck, you’re stuck.

Let’s examine five ways, based on the ideas above, in which you can redefine writer’s block for a quick and easy exit out of the pit:

1. Wake up!

When you go blank or unconscious, you’ve left your body and are swimming around in thoughts in your head which quickly worsens the sitation. The vicious cycle of self-perpetuating bad vibes doesn’t break unless you realize you’re in the middle of it and literally wake up from that trance. I highly recommend practicing the mindful awareness that will allow you to observe what’s happening, so you can choose a response other than to remain stuck in your thoughts of doom. Once you notice what’s happening, go take a walk, do some deep breathing, or find a way to move. A connection with your physical body will help you slide out of the block you’ve created in your mind.

2. Stop listening to the negative messages.

Many times the messages you hear that tell you you have nothing to write about, that your ideas suck, or that nobody is going to want to hear about your ballroom dancing competition are old, conditioned messages coming from past experiences. Your inner critic will stop you from making a fool of yourself by telling you you aren’t good enough. If you sit there and listen to those negative voices without separating yourself from them, you’ll be stuck. Observing the voices and recognizing their origin is a form of awareness that will serve you well. Once you hear them and call them out, you can carry on with your writing anyway.

3. Clear some space in your head, heart and soul.

If you’ve been paying attention to the best seller list, you know that Feng Shui is a hot topic. This ancient practice of decluttering can do wonders for your inside as well as your outside environment. If your life is messy, in a state of constant multi-tasking or overwhelm, there’s no room for inspiration to flow. You’re going to need to do a little Feng Shui in there in the form of meditation, breathing or body awareness to create some space. This is just as important as clearing your physical space, which will also help creative energy flow. When you’re stuck and feeling like there’s nothing coming in the form of ideas or direction, try clearing your mind and your desk, and make room for something better to happen.

4. Practice connecting to something bigger than you.

This isn’t about God or religion, but it could be if that’s how you connect to the divine and infinite source that surrounds you every single day. This source is a never-ending flow of ideas and inspiration. There’s enough to go around for everyone. Forever. So how do you connect? By using your awareness and getting still. By breathing and arriving in your body. By stopping the ceaseless mind chatter and connecting with your sensations and feelings, so that you can listen to the messages coming from this different source—your intuition. Your intuition is how this larger source communicates to you. If you aren’t trained in listening to your intuition then make that a priority and I promise you’ll never have to think about writer’s block again.

5. Write about what’s going on right now.

Honestly, when people tell me they don’t know what to write about I wonder what the hell they’re thinking. Look around. Look at other people, places, things, events and moments that make up your every single day. Notice the miracles around you. Find the humor in the mess. What moves you? Makes you laugh, or cry, or wonder? That peanut butter sandwich? Yes, that, go write about that. Sometimes you have to realize that not everything we write is something that will be read. Sometimes you have to write so that the writing you want to write will get written. So if you’ve already written about every possible thing you think you wanted to write about and there’s nothing left, then go write about that! See? You have no excuses! Go write.

Maybe I’m making this all sound easy. After all, writer’s block sucks, and if I’ve never experienced it then how could I possible write about it, right?

I challenge you to think and believe something different for a change. I challenge you to redefine the process.

Instead of labeling what happens to you when you feel stuck, try going for the feeling of it instead. Try wrapping the whole darn thing in awareness, and watching it with curiosity instead of dwelling in the misery that is the meaning you’ve given to what’s happening.

And then go write about it.



Author: Laura Probert

Apprentice Editor: Corinne Milentijevic/Editor: Katarina Tavčar

Image: Tatiana Lapina/Unsplash

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