Elaine Marie Carnegie
Writer's Block...The Real Deal
Updated: Dec 7, 2019
I read about Writer’s Block, but it never touched me. I’ve been writing since I could hold a crayon and scribble, so I never put too much stock in that expression until... I experienced it myself.
It happened as I began writing full time and working from home. A dream come true for me... yes; as it happened though, not without its trials. I was clueless when one morning as I sat yawning and sipping my first cup of coffee at my computer... I was blank... Just blank!
I had articles due the next day, but no ideas. It was as if my mind had just done all it was going to do. Normally, I have to corral wayward ideas and constant little voices. It had never happened to me before... the quiet, and I didn’t quite know what to make of it but I didn’t worry too much.
I got up and took a shower, put things in order, went to the store for groceries. I reprinted old recipes I had on file, did a press release article and then re-ran an old article from six years prior. I got some rest, took my mom shopping and drove six hours to see my children and visited for a few days.
When I returned home... it was a week later. My articles were due again and I was still just clueless. I couldn't concentrate, my focus was gone. I have to tell you, it was frightening. The equivalent of physical paralysis but in my mind. Just imagine... I began to research and there are so many information pathways out there and most of them are rabbit trails. (Have you ever followed a “real” rabbit trail? It will take you into places you cannot possibly maneuver.)
Finally, I found a quote... a simple quote by Louis L’Amour. It said, “Start writing. No matter what, the water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” Well, I kept thinking about that. It was a stormy day and I had been frustrated all morning. I sat down and just typed: It’s Wednesday, and it is storming. I can hear the thunder roar growing ever nearer. The real storm is approaching. On my worktable, I have a cup of coffee, a file stand and my printer next to my computer. My walls are beige and so is my rug. I love the warm wooden accents in my home... on and on until the water was flowing. It worked!
I have been plagued with it twice more since that time. Once for no apparent reason I was trying to write a poem for a silly competition in a group I was part of at that time. It wouldn’t come... I couldn’t... do it. So I did this:
With a blank sheet of paper and writing pen, I sat down today,
I had too much upon my mind and much too much to say.
I thought of tossing in my bed the whole long night before,
And how it felt to pace and think and then to pace some more…
I tried to write the heartfelt verse that normally writes themselves
But the words just would not come today, elusive tiny elves,
Upon a tree leaf in my mind, drifting ever down,
Chattering upon the wind until they reached the ground.
Jumbled in my mind and heart the words teased at my pen,
Until I tried to write them down and then they fled again…
So finally… I decided, to write what came to me
It isn’t much and what it means, is totally lost to me
But here it is… the experience, that I had this day,
When I sat down to write once more… with much too much to say!
That always makes me smile. Crazy days! In conclusion, writer’s block is the real deal. I don’t have all the answers but for me writing through it is the only way to get through it. I feel like you have to stand up to it. It’s a private battle and I think of writer’s block like a bully, costing you time and satisfaction, and a little fear.
Push back, write... just write. As you see above, what you write doesn’t really matter because once you stand up to a bully. They will usually seek easier prey.
Good Luck! Never quit... write every day!
“And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.”
― Ray Bradbury