Writer’s Block

writer's blockI never considered myself a “writer”, so I never expected to experience “writer’s block”. Well, SURPRISE!!! I’ve been hit by it in recent weeks. It’s infuriating. So what do I do? Babble about not being able to babble.

Multiple times, I’ve tried writing about things, only to have the topic fizzle after only a few sentences. And that’s during a productive period. Other times, I think of a topic, “Yeah, I’ll write about that!” but then that insidious little voice (those of you who have read my blog, which has suffered so these many weeks, are familiar with Alice, my greedy, cranky, critical, and all-around nasty personal demon) chimes in and tells me what a craptastic idea THAT is, and why am I so interested in it? Nobody else is! So I shelve it, and move on. To what? I have no idea.

I know that, in my heavily musical days (I majored in Flute Performance in College), I’ve suffered through “practice fatigue”, a self-named infliction that may have a more official name. We also sometimes called it “leaving the performance on the practice room floor.” This is what happens when you’ve practiced a piece beyond perfection. You’ve practiced it so much that it seems like your fingers are inventing mistakes just to keep it interesting. And boy howdy, is it frustrating. You’re constantly wondering, “what the heck? I JUST played that right!” And now the run won’t come for anything. So you start to freak out because OMIGOD, THE CONCERT IS TOMORROW, so you practice more, and make MORE mistakes, and panic some more, and make even MORE mistakes, and … well, you get it. At some point, you quit, because it’s either that or do your best Barry Bonds impression with this delicate, and often, multi-thousand-dollar instrument. So you carefully, and with the utmost care, put the blasted flute back into the blasted case, stomp out of the practice room, and end up in the school café, chowing on the biggest hot-fudge sundae you can find (wait, that explains a FEW things…)

Writers, as I mentioned, have the dreaded “writer’s block”.

I know my uncle, a wildlife artist, cannot draw or paint if it’s not quiet. He can handle any of the myriad cacophony that Mother Nature throws at him, but man-made noise? No way. Which makes it a bit difficult for him, since he lives across from a construction site and very near a train trestle.

Usually, it takes only the distraction of the mind to find a cure. Put it to other tasks, let it rest for a while, pick up the flute, the brush or the pen a little later. And the problem clears itself. But while its present, it carries with it a host of stress, and not a little self-pity that things will never, ever be the same again.

I have to wonder, is it only “traditionally creative” types that get blocks like this? Or do ‘technical’ people get it, too? Most folks don’t consider engineers “creative”, but I do. Do they get blocks? The inability to achieve that delicate balance between science and math? How about lawyers? Is there ever a time that the process just stalls out, the statutes don’t quite fit the problem, and they have to just shelve the problem for the night and start fresh tomorrow? (or maybe pass it on to a paralegal or an intern, just to frustrate them, and alleviate the personal stress?)

Please tell me it’s not just an ‘artistic’ thing…

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7 Responses to Writer’s Block

  1. mssc54 says:

    This post reminds me of one time when I was praying at a family function.

    Later one of my nephews came up to me and said, “Uncle Mike if you’ve been slacking off on your prayer time you didn’t have to try to make up for it today.” lol I think he was joking.

  2. SKL says:

    I know I get technical block. I like the creative aspects of my work, but when I have all the time in the world, it’s hard to focus on producing something. Give me a deadline, and I’ll get a little more focus – but also a little less creativity. Haven’t found “perfect” yet.

    For me, the best way to get back into something creative is to totally clear my mind and then let it decide where it wants to go. Maybe the creative part of my brain is just not interested in whatever I was trying to impose on it. If I’m totally open to wherever my mind goes without intentional direction, I usually come up with something.

    The stuff we consciously envision is just the tip of the iceberg of the potential creations within us. It’s just a matter of finding the release valve.

    I taught myself how to play several instruments by note and by rote. One thing I didn’t “get” was playing by ear. After trying from time to time, I just figured I didn’t have that talent. Then one day, something clicked and it started to come naturally. It was always in there, just waiting for me to unblock the door.

  3. LVISS says:


  4. Joy says:

    I get this all the time. The other day I realized we had no posts ready and I had a long list of things to write about but the more I thought I “had” to write, absolutely NOTHING came to me. I can write so much better when I’m not working so hard at it. I’m the opposite of SKL. When I try to force it, it’s harder for me.

    I think this must happen to everyone no matter what they do. Don’t you? I think everyone must have brain farts.

    • Laura says:

      Oh my gosh, Joy, I thought the same thing. I went in to post one of the ‘goofies’ that I’ve been putting up lately, and noticed that the queue was getting a little shallow. Immediately, I went to the list that I keep here of Topics That Must Be Addressed, and *nothing* clicked. I mean NOTHING. And these are topics that annoy me, or inspire me, or whatever. I list the subject, and go back when I have time and write about them. USUALLY, it works. Not this time. And the more I obsessed about it, the worse it got.

      I started one of the topics yesterday, so hopefully, that will shake the others loose…

  5. starlaschat says:

    Oh sure brain farts are US. That would be a good store. Natural and normal I get it all the time. It’s tricky having a blog and posting every day. I don’t know how you do it, really. Some days I wake up and I think Holy crap I got nothing. I look at the screen and it feels that every thing I have to say is stupid and than I go look at blogs and my comments well I feel like why did I say that? I wish I could delete what I just said. Life ebs and flows. I think writing where you are at, right now is the best. Just like this post. When I feel stuck I try to look at where am I at right now how do I feel? Honestly and tell the truth to yourself. I had to do that today. Sometimes I think Things lock up because we are not listening to a part of ourselves that wants to speak. Boy I could just go on and on about this I guess I have all kinds of thoughts on the subject. LOL Hope I don’t want to delete after I push the send button.;+/. Some times doing a Fun project something that is light and airy and something that you think is fun to do. Creative like take pictures of clouds or paint splatters on your naibors front door. No that’s not a good idea. anyway Fun seems to bring back creativity or rest some times I just need to fold in my wings and take a siesta. re charge my battery. I get burnt out all the time. So that I think is the longest comment I ever left. Your writers block inspired me to endless drival, magine that!

  6. JavaQueen says:

    I like what starlaschat wrote about NOT listening to the part of ourselves that wants to speak. That makes sense to me.

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