Writer’s Block Happens

Late in April, I heard about NaPoWriMo—National Poetry Writing Month. No, I didn’t participate. Not only did I not know about it, but ironically, I’ve had writer’s block since April 1. I tried using my as-yet-undeveloped poems as a springboard, but nothing…not a poetic phrase in my body all month. I suppose it had to happen at some point, but I feel kind of lonely without little poetic bits popping into my head. It’s May 3 and I’m still waiting for my po-ju (poetic juices) to come back.

So, what happened? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s merely the natural ebb and flow of writing. Maybe it’s that I finally gave in and got on Facebook on April 1. I haven’t gotten on there much, but because of the timing I can’t help but wonder if it didn’t suck the inspiration right out of me. Or maybe it’s because a particular cause of angst at work was brought to the attention of management and dealt with (somewhat), at least temporarily. I hope that’s not it. How agonizing to have your ability to write be tied to angst and drama being present in your life. I know that’s how it works for a lot of people, but I’d rather be a happy poet than a miserable one.

I still have opportunities to write. I’m writing this blog and I write things at work; I just can’t tap into the poetic part of myself right now. Not even a rhymey-chimey poem. Pouty face. I love writing poems.

Writer’s block makes you doubt your abilities. It brings with it the fear that you may never be able to write again. You have to keep reminding yourself that it will pass and you will write again.

So why do we get writer’s block? To give our brains a rest? To force us to further tap into our creativity and imagination? Many writers will tell you their ideas are “just handed” to them, gifts from God. But the writer has to learn to see, to listen, and to recognize the inspiration God is putting in front of them. Writer’s block reminds us not to become complacent and take the gift for granted.

Think of writer’s block as an opportunity to evolve and grow as a writer. It might ease the frustration.

Have you had writer’s block? What did you do to get through it? Did you learn anything from it?

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2 thoughts on “Writer’s Block Happens

  1. I’ve had writer’s block several times. I wrote a blog post about it a few years back. It’s here: http://storiform.com/2012/10/30/writers-block-naah/

    The post is written in the context of novel writing. If you’re blocked for poetry, it might not help, I’m not much of a poet.

    But here’s an idea for poetry. Go listen to the words of “Gates of Eden” by Bob Dylan. watch

    Then try to enter his mind as he’s writing this song. What is he doing?

    In this period of his life, I seem to remember that he was reading classic literature in large quantities. That filled his head with subconscious “novel” words and thoughts. Novel to our times, at least.

    “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. It’s that simple.” – Stephen King

    Then, Dylan wrote poems by finding in a novel (or just an unusual) word combination as often as possible, not caring much about the clarity of the message, but focusing on concrete images and the profoundness of the mood.

    OK, none of that actually happened, unless my guessing is up to its usual infallibility (haha), but it will help any type of writer to see how readers ears open for novel word combinations and images that evoke a strong mood. When you’ve got that, the “message” or linear idea of the piece doesn’t need to be spelled out clearly to be interesting.

    This breaks writer’s block by shifting the focus off the main thing that’s blocking you, namely “having something to say.” It, focuses you on disconnected pieces of beauty and art that can stand on their own, later to be strung together to create a vague meaning that can be gently altered to say what you finally decide it’s all about.

    That at least supports my claim that I’m not much of a poet.

    I hope it helps you! 🙂

    Talmage,
    http://www.storiform.com

    • Thank you very much for your insight and suggestions. I appreciate it. I will certainly check out your blog. I’m not currently experiencing a block, but I like to try different ways to spark creativity so I look forward to trying your suggestions. Perhaps if I find myself in a ‘block’ again, it will help me find my way out. Meanwhile, maybe I will write a magnificent poem using your suggestions. If not, I will undoubtedly enjoy the journey. Thanks again for sharing.

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