Writer’s Block

I wonder about the world, and write about the wonder. I write to try to make sense of the world around me, the people, places and events that capture my attention whether or not I understand why. The answer to the why draws me to their stories. Their stories come to me and unravel themselves while I write.

I find the process of writing to be as much exploration as it is self-discovery. Through writing fiction, I can explore the connections between root cause, motivation, cause and effect, and consequence. Writing essays gives me insight into myself and how I perceive the world.  Poetry shows me how to paint pictures with words. For me writing has a cathartic, almost therapeutic effect. I find it liberating to be able to explore through my writing the full extent of emotions about situations that may, on the surface, appear seemingly unrelated. I believe we all share common desires and struggles on our journey even when on different paths. Writing about joy, pain and fear helps me understand not just my own path but that of others I come across along the way.

There are times when I find myself unable to find the words, and I feel stuck.

I find I seem to suffer from writer’s block when I am afraid to be vulnerable or authentic. For me, writer’s block occurs when I try to push a series of events or an outcome in a specific direction. When I experience writer’s block, I feel frustrated and find myself constantly writing and re-writing, trying to create this mythical perfect scene that never seems quite perfect enough, even if I am only writing it in my head. I can typically notice the difference between a good or bad writing day by how I feel at the end of the writing experience. On a good writing day I may feel energized or enlightened, but a bad writing day usually leaves me feeling exhausted and insecure, not the type of exhaustion left over from having flexed every mental muscle, but rather more like the exhaustion of spending all day trying to recollect the memory of a dream without success.

The best way for me to overcome my writer’s block is to find a quiet place where I can write with just paper and pen for a brief, but uninterrupted length of time. However, sometimes, even facing paper alone does not help, and I need to just walk away and let my mind untangle the possibilities and the mess. Many times, I have to be honest with myself about what it is I fear, about why I am afraid to write what I am trying to write.  I know, for me, the hardest scenes to write are the ones I shy away from; it is when I procrastinate the most and find excuses to not write.  The hardest scenes for me to write are the ones that cut at my soul and make me look away.

When it comes to writer’s block, I have found that I am the obstacle, obstinate and unmoving and afraid. It is when I experience writer’s block that I learn the most about myself.  In my struggle to move forward, I also learn why my writing can not move forward either. It is during these times that I have to remind myself of why I write and why I must write. I, too, wonder why I write. I wonder, and I wonder why. I know I will never know why unless I write. And, so, I write.


7 thoughts on “Writer’s Block

  1. I love this, Elizabeth. Wondering, asking,… leading you to write. And in the process of writing, sometimes you find the answers.. sometimes more questions. This line of yours is so true: “I find the process of writing to be as much exploration as it is self-discovery.” I love it.

  2. Man, my husband and I had a conversation last night that sounded just like this post. He’s down because it’s dark so early, he can’t get outside, he feels like he’s in a rut. I’m going to go get some Vitamin D and see if that helps! Thanks for the post and your blog is beautiful!

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