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Monday, August 27, 2012

the block

There is a simple solution to writer’s block, just write about it.

 Sit in front of your computer screen and write about how you can’t come up with words to fill in the screen. Write about the fears that come from a blinking cursor, the terror that the well of words can dry up. That like ink, talent and creativity can run dry and there is a chance that all you will have is memory. There are a lot of quotes on this am not sure and google isn't either who said “If you’ll take away my genius lord please takes away my memory of it too.” 

But it’s important to consider the block I believe. It carries in it all the things that make a story great. It carries inadequacy, conflicts and self-doubt.. It is a human emotion, a whole palette of human emotions. It is a story of how we felt when we were younger and stood among a group of friends and some of the confidence we portrayed was false. A stopper in your throat and a worry that your joke wouldn’t be as funny as that of your funniest friend meant that words stuck there feeling more solid than words have a right to feel. Unable to move with a smile frozen in place. It’s the feeling we get when there is something we are good at but maybe not good enough at. I can make it to my high school team but am I good enough for college ball? And even if I am will I ever be a professional? And even if I am will I ever be Messi? Greatness isn’t promised to everyone but the capacity and ambition for it lives in almost all human beings. Some people can temper it with honesty but a lot of us reach for it all our lives and then the block comes. When written about it also carries within it the triumph of the human spirit it tells a story of a man who fought his nature and his demons of sloth, who battled his unmuses and came out triumphant imposing his will on his failings

It’s a story that everyone can relate to because we have all felt uninspired at some time. We have all felt that our talent left us and all we do to get it back doesn’t work. It’s that woman who won’t pick up your calls or return your messages. You know that more effort means less results still you can’t help but try. Then there is the fact that writing can be like a drug. There are all the memories of the time when it just came. When you sat down  and nothing mattered except what the voices in your head told you to write down. Those moments of quiet when the voices shut up for a while because you were actually listening to them. Those who play sports know them as moments of muscle memory when all the training you put in plus the skill you naturally possess hold hands and make sweet, sweet love switching your brain off and letting you be. Those moments when you feel like this is what you’re supposed to do.

When I began writing on this blog it was like that all the time. There was so much to say and so many ways of saying it. Then it becomes harder as time goes by. Maybe you do get better as life goes on but those moments of pure clarity, the moments when it all makes sense and it’s as if the world is talking to you become fewer and fewer. The pieces of writing that feel like art those that feel like they are reflective of society, that make you feel as if your hold on human nature was firmer and your grasp better are harder to come by. Then the laziness checks in. you roll out of bed and roll into the world. You forget about all the things that you do have to do to get better. Everyone says you should write a minimum number of words a day, but what the hell is there to write about? It feels as if all the topics you could check in on have checked out of the world. Bolts of inspiration are replaced by plodding through murk and mud.

Some time ago I fell down and hit my head. It resulted in some wounds and they hurt. They hurt all the time. It was a constant headache and it wouldn’t leave me for even a minute. Then I wrote a piece for the blog and for that time it went away. The pain was subsumed by something more. Then I remembered I really do love to write and that it can take me away from everything. It takes me back to places I want to visit and forward to places I haven’t seen yet. Reading, writing and travelling are my best forms of travelling(if you’ll pardon the repetition) and a life without any one of them means I have to take drugs to get rid of headaches something am not sure I want. Am only happy when I write, no that’s not true I only write when am happy someone should have said.

One way of getting rid of writer’s block is to write about it. Write about the worry and the pain. Write about all the things you did to get rid of it and when you do get rid of it write about what actually worked. Am not sure I can actually give advice on one of these things yet but writing about the block worked for me (at least I hope it did, we’ll know in a week.)

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