An Alternate View of Writer’s Block


Writer's Block

Image by thorinside via Flickr

I once thought that writer‘s block was something that just happened, something spontaneous and unpredictable. Yet for years and years, I have never experienced more than occasional lack of inspiration until the last few years. I wasn’t even sure it really existed. I believed that I was either inspired or I wasn’t and I followed that instinct. I still worked hard of course to improve my writing but I allowed myself to follow ideas and for a long while I didn’t mind the hard work of the 9-5 shifts to bring in the money while I did it. Of course, some things did irk me, that always happens in daily life, but I was writing as well and I was happy.

Then something changed. I found my day-to-day life more restricted. If I had an idea at work I usually let it take hold, jotted it down and then took it home to work on. I still had and owned my ideas.

At some point this became impossible during the day. I no longer seemed to have time or even physical opportunity to allow the ideas to expand. I worried that I wasn’t writing as much as I used to and I became rushed and tired and felt suffocated and, of course, my health began to suffer.

Writer's Block

Image via Hannahspanna via Flickr

It occurs to me that writing has always been more of an urge with me. It’s something that builds up and takes hold like a pressure valve. It’s my theory that in many writers, we experience this block when we are too restricted. Maybe it’s a wanderer thing, the imagination longs to roam, longs to explore and be free. It navigates the world and writing unconsciously steers this to a direction. When we turn our writing into other things we forget that it may have another purpose too.

So if you get stuck, don’t despair you may just have a blockage in the creative pipeline, from being too restricted. It will unblock eventually and you’ll learn something for the future. The main thing is that we need to allow our mind a little freedom while keeping hold of our dreams, our life and our work ethic.

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11 thoughts on “An Alternate View of Writer’s Block

  1. The most important thing you wrote up above in relationship to the ‘why’ of writer’s block was that you began to feel restricted… immediately, I am hearing that you are no longer free to ‘play,’ to create on your own terms. It’s been my experience that at least one of the reasons we respond badly to this is that the part of us that still requires (a stronger word than ‘need’? but maybe not) play is being squelched. This is crucial for creative people. Creative people swim in the waters of freedom of thought. I think this is the part we tend to take for granted. When we become blocked it’s often because we’ve come up against a force that won’t allow us that free expression we’re used to. The force might be something inside ourselves, or it might be outside ourselves, in the guise of a boss or significant other, but wherever it emanates from, our response to it is fairly predictable. Freeing ourselves becomes a long, laborious process of questioning, self-doubt, and fear we’ve ‘lost it.’ Nope. You have not lost it, you just need to get yourself out of that dark room.

    • Thanks. It was something I kept thinking, that I was being too restricted. The rules at work kept coming more and more, every single thing was being monitored and controlled. I knew that’s what was affecting my writing but there were no other jobs and I was stuck in no-mans land. Now I’ve decided to take the leap and go back to education full time so I have some form of income but some freedom from writing. I took a year out and it’s amazing the amount of work I’ve got done compared to the last few years.

  2. I understand completely. :-) I have a background in academia. I hope you’ll take a look at the website (collaborative-writer.com) and let me know what you think, especially if you have any suggestions for things to change or add. It’s always really helpful having another writer’s opinions!

  3. OMG!! I really love this article. I thought for a while I was suffering from writer’s block. I would write and write and write and nothing would make sense to me. I eventually ended up ditching all those pages (which I shouldn’t have, but I did) and tried to start fresh. I know one thing that did hinder my ability to write and feel the words I was penning to paper was and in some cases still, my job. I’m slowly but surely coming out of letting my job get the best of me and interrupt the only thing (outside of music) that has brought life to me and that’s writing – no matter what it is.

    • Thanks. I appreciate it. I was fine until we were no longer allowed to take paper in and out of the office. After that everything just went downhill. I can put up with a lot of restrictions as long as I still have my writing. When I didn’t have that anymore, hell I didn’t even have the energy to think anymore, that was it for me and my job.

  4. Pingback: Getting into the Groove (Again) « The Write Inspiration

  5. Pingback: How I Beat Writer’s Block « Bunny Ears & Bat Wings

  6. Pingback: Defeating Writer’s Block « Alexis J.

  7. Pingback: Keeping the Imagination Flowing « Escaping the Inkwell

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