Friday, May 27, 2016

Is writer's block just an illusion?

One of the many conversations I had on Facebook this morning brought up this question for me. My grand-daughter posted that she was struck in the writer's block zone. A mutual friend commented that writer's block is an illusion. 

While I commented that it's true we can set our mind to do almost anything, I've had some afterthoughts. Turns out that writer's block is not a “black and white” issue after all. And sometimes, it's very real. Here's why.

Writers need a large portion of their brain to come up with something readable. Granted, you can often just start writing and break through the mental blockage. However, the blockage itself is very real. Yes, you can put your mind to it, get through it and go on to pen an astounding piece of work, most of the time. But if your brain is busy with other things, doing so can be daunting.

Writing isn't like most jobs. You absolutely cannot do it unless the perfect mindset exists in you. Your mind must be receptive, free of stress and most of all, completely engaged in what you're doing. Otherwise, you're probably going to turn out something that's a little less wonderful than you wanted it to be.

Take this little blog post.

Today I am in a lot of pain. I know the points I wish to make. Unfortunately, with that back pain occupying my head, things are not quite coming out as I hoped they would. But it isn't just extenuating circumstances that can cause writer's block to become real. It's other factors too.

Here are a few:

*A negative attitude
*A bad mood
*Outside distractions
*Being upset about the subject matter
*Running out of new ideas
*Trying to project positivism when you're depressed.

I could go on as there are many more obstacles we face as writers, but you get the point. While it's true that all these things can be conquered by adopting a more productive and positive, “can do” mindset, writers still have to get past them. They are very real. That's because, they are in our heads where we live. But more importantly, they are in our heads where our thoughts live. And we can't put those thoughts on paper without thinking.

In fact, writing is literally your brain on paper. So, if your head is not clear, your writing is not clear.

Is writer's block an illusion?

Yes, in that you can talk your brain into doing anything you want it to.

No, in that the blockage is very real until you figure out how to leave it behind, work around it or eliminate it.

You can be as industrious and positive as you want but you still have to conquer those obstacles before you can keep writing. And that, my friends is why they call it writer's block.

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