This blog was supposed to be my return to writing after taking an emotional break due to a myriad of circumstances in my life, not the least of which was the death of my mother and my diagnosis with breast cancer. A year went by and my simple little blog posts, written on my autism, political and lifestyle blogs, amounted to a period of anger, sadness and basically being removed from my own sense of expression.
When I finally realized that I was bored with what was happening in my world, I understood that I needed to find a new place in which to express myself. So I decided that instead of returning to my normal, well known blogs and writing adventures, I would create a new world for myself, full of imagination, joy and happenstance all of my own creation. Hence, I decided that I would dedicate myself solely to the idea of fiction writing and self expression. So here we are.
My plan was to sit at my computer as I took the characters that lodged themselves in my subconscious and give them life. They are there you know, living full lives; having adventures; enjoying their time in infamy, repentance, and adoration. They are saving the world, and the universe; creating empires as they consume the glory that is their birthright. My characters find love, find redemption and above all challenge humankind to be better than they have ever been. My characters would act as a warning, a wraith of truth, to the benighted world that has forgotten what it means to be solely and irredeemably human.
But nothing happened.
I sat at the computer and nothing happened.
I tried writing contests.
I tried writing groups.
I tried writing prompts.
I read articles, books and blogs about writing.
I spoke about my desire and need to write.
I argued with myself at night when I laid awake at three in the morning unable to sleep because my characters were too busy to allow me to put them to bed.
I did everything I thought to do except for one….write about writing.
But what is there to say that any writer doesn’t already know and understand instinctively? I thought, how do I explain the sheer joy, the terror, the overarching abandon when words hit paper and the story comes together? How do I extol the virtue of a craft that predates written language, when I am in fact devoid of words? Of course, any good writer, I suppose can do just that…express every emotion in words, expressions, or character actions; relay human frailty, reality and desire by using the sweat of the brow and the arch of the pen-hand.
And then I hit on an idea to help: writing about my writer’s block.
Oh yes, that writer’s block is a real thing. It is an all-consuming frenemy of time and space. It takes from you your heart and your soul and chews it up then spits it out. It takes from you your ability to think, feel and understand the world around you, simply because you yourself don’t understand what is happening to you. It destroys your story. It murders your characters, and it prevents you from moving forward.
It puts you in a quicksand of thought and mind. You fight with it and challenge it, but until you face it. Stand up to it. Destroy it. It will haunt you and your dreams. It will take your soul from you, as a succubus hunts its victims. It will entrap you in a maze and labyrinth that has no end and no beginning. It will force you to question your purpose and to rethink your abilities. It will destroy your mindful endeavors and make you rue the day as you sit, quietly in your own thoughts without the ability to extend that pen.
But facing this demon inside you is the first part of the exorcism. Acknowledging the issue and confronting it, is most the battle won. Understanding your own mind and how it works is the only way back to the world of imagination. Take the time to view who you are and where you want your characters to go.
You can defeat writer’s block. It can be strong, but it is never invincible.
Accept this part of you. Embrace it. Harness it. Make it a part of your world. Stop fighting it. Let it consume you. Let it become part of your story. The fear. The tiredness. The wanting. The needing.The loneliness of living outside your universe.
And understand a major reality.Inside that writer’s block is your hero. Ultimately, it is the hero’s story in which we all seek answers. Answers for questions as yet unwritten, due in part to our own inability to put pen to paper, finger to keyboard, chalk to blackboard, pencil to napkin….
So there you have it. If we are being mindful, in truth, you cannot find the answers if you have not formulated the questions. That is why writer’s block is so hard to overcome for many. Writer’s block holds the answers to all the writer’s questions. But if your mind’s eye cannot articulate the questions, you cannot understand the ultimate answers.
So first start with the questions….
Why and for what purpose will your story take shape,
Who is going to struggle, live and love,
What compels the why of the story,
Where shall this adventure take place,
When will it occur,
How will it all come to pass,
and most importantly, again…
Why do your protagonists do what they do.