Thursday, February 26, 2009

Writing Underwater

Up until this point in my life, I've never experienced the dreaded 'B' word. You know the word that all writers hate. Block. I have never had it in my vocab list. Why? Because I've always had a wealth of ideas and had no trouble acting on them. But since October of last year, I've dead in the creative sense. It's only when this opressive weight lifts that one can see the weight you were under.

My block built a stone wall around me and everything that wanted to make art. What caused it? Well if I knew that, by gosh I'd be a rich woman. I could point fingers, but honestly, I can only say that a combination of overwork, underplay, and refusal live my life a different way brought on this malady.

I had the ideas by the dozen. I would sit down to write, sometimes I would even write pages, only to find that I hated everything about the idea. My characters had claimed up, no longer speaking to me. My inspirations for essays went dry like a drought ridden river. I moaned: Why, why me. Is my writing over. I knew this couldn't be because I thought about it all the time.

And then, I had a dream that I was pregnant with a neglected baby. Hm. When I gave birth in the dream, I was told if I nutured the child it would grow, but I couldn't continue doing things in the same way I had before. I had to approach life in a fresh new way. I woke that morning sure it was a sign that I should revive some old work of mine. Nope not at all.

I began to look at me work and my whole approach to life. What was different? Well, by gosh, everything! But mostly I was different. I had blocked myself inside a shell of what I thought writing was supposed to be and it had caught up with me.

The first thing I did was go to the library. I hadn't been since October when I taught the writing workshope. I was surrounded by the workers when they saw me. Where have you been? We missed you? This warmed me. Then I began to choose books and books. More books than I could ever read in my alloted time, but took them anyway. Ten books and two audio books.

As I was leaving, one of the workers said, "Good to see you with us again." That's when I realized I had been living underwater. And folks, writing doesn't work well underwater.

The following week a new character came out of the blue and began to speak to me. I'm on a roll again, but I'm careful, careful not to caught up in what I think should be and just allow what will happen.

4 comments:

Stacye Carroll said...

I can relate very closely with everything you've said here...especially the part about not knowing you were gone until you find your way back.
Hope you stick around!

Eugene R Park said...

Thank You,
I have run into the dreaded "B" word several times,Mostly with my watercolor renderings, I sit in front of a blank sheet and find something to distract me so I can justify myself ,to Myself. Then out of the clear I have a flurry of ideas and make myself half sick trying to accommodate them all at once , I enjoyed this post

Ruth D~ said...

Lot's of wisdom here. I identify with the part of not realizing you've blocked yourself . . .

Ann Hite said...

Thanks guys! I've been working on the rewrite of the short story. I know I'll encounter the 'b' word again, but hopefully not for a long time!

Ann