Many writers complain about the dreaded and feared syndrome, but, “What is Writer’s Block?” It’s quite literally the state of being a writer experiences when they feel blocked from their literary creative outlet. Can’t think of anything. The story is stalled. Brain is fried. The well of creativity is dry. Unmotivated due to depression brought on by Writer’s Block. Can’t get off the couch. Uggghhhhh…. These are but a few things people spew in order to excuse themselves from their chosen profession for a while. But, does it actually exist?
Well, it’s perfectly natural to be stumped. Writing is a tough gig and one can easily become mentally fatigued after focusing for too long on the same subject. Even athletes who focus too long on their arms and chest must give their torso a rest from time to time. And just like the aforementioned athletes who must switch to their legs after wearing out their upper bodies, writers can often find a way through by changing to a different writing project for a time. (Before penning PRESENTING: THE AFTERMATH I’d been stumped on a different project. More on that later.)
Another famous cause of a creative slump is a difficult transition. Sometimes, even if everything has been properly outlined, making the transition from one story arc to the next can seem impossible. Notes on a board may seem to blur together when an author is stalled on how to execute their transitory turn-of-events or subjects. Mathematicians can often experience this type of stall during the execution of solving complex equations. Sometimes stepping away for a bit is the only option. But, what can come of giving up for a while? -The easy answer is a fresh perspective.
Long ago, I set about writing a book of poetry entitled HELL AND BACK: THE INSANITY BETWEEN. It was to show different stages of my life, a sort of biography in various poetic forms. I got stumped, but soldiered on. When I couldn’t think of what to write, I stopped and read a writing magazine. I decided to do the poetic challenges therein. These helped. The challenges gave me a structure. I came up with the topic and I was still churning along. I was not completing the book the exact way I’d wanted. But I was proud of myself for continuing nonetheless. (Though, functional alcoholism was starting to sound appealing.) This was my form of writer’s block. I was still doing the work, but the creative juices weren’t really flowing. Thankfully, a distraction from the book of poems dropped itself into my lap.
As any decent writer knows, one must read at least as much as they write if they want a chance to become a successful author. I’m a novice, by comparison to the greats, but I do adhere to their wisdom in the hopes of becoming great, myself. A friend dropped some Prepper pulp in my lap and asked me to read them. I did. I read loads of it, every story he handed me. Then, he dared me to write a *Prepper story of my own. (*A Prepper is someone who prepares for worst case scenarios -more details on this dare in the Afterward of my novel)
If you’ve read my book, PRESENTING: THE AFTERMATH, you know what an action packed, comedic horror romp that above mentioned dare materialized into. What you may not know is that this provocation was merely to be a temporary distraction from my book of poems. What it turned into is a passion, the beginning of a trilogy! Yes, I’m still casually penning my epic book of poetry, but my block and the thing I was so stressed about writing ended up not meaning that much compared to the aberration that took me out of my creative funk.
If there is a point to this narrative, it is this: Be open. Even though you may feel like you’re on a creative hamster wheel, allow yourself the opportunity to be inspired.
Example: I did not have to read the pulp I was handed, I was in no way required to accept the ensuing dare. I allowed myself to explore a new topic believing I could somehow find motivation for my poetry. What I found instead was an inspiration for something I’m very happy with. Yes, I realize it’s not perfectly written; of course, it’s for a specific audience instead of appealing to the masses, but I’m extremely proud of how entertaining this beginning of a trilogy has become. I wish the same for all aspiring novelists.
My journey as a writer began with writing, developed into me following the advice of those smarter than myself, and is constantly evolving since I feel I should never stop learning. Can I be the next Stephen King? Fuck no! He’s a brilliant badass! But I can be the first me. We all start somewhere. My journey begins with the work ethic of my literary heroes and my willingness to be inspired every single day (even if I ever get stuck). What’s your journey like?