A peculiar idea, isn’t it? A Writer’s Block.
Why isn’t there any other kinds of blocks? Like a painter’s block, or an actor’s block, or a doctor, an engineer, a nurse, a cashier, a lecturer etc. Why is it the writer’s block? Are we the only specimens of human beings who suffer this mental state of stress and indecisiveness and sometimes complete blankness? I wonder.
I haven’t the answer I’m afraid, but I’m sure people in other profession suffer similar situation, they just don’t harp on about it till the cows come home and has eventually become a saying in society. Are writers really out there beating their drums when suffering a bout of the Block? Do we whinge? I can’t imagine so. I can’t speak for every one of us, but I seldom advertise when I’m suffering an episode. Instead, I worry and worry, and worry some more, that maybe the time has come when I’ve finally run out of ideas, stories and inspiration. Or maybe I’ve lost it…the drive. Whatever we call it. I don’t tell others that I am suffering.
Instead of confiding and complaining to my near and dears, I go out there in search of inspiration that I may as well be walking with a giant torch into a cave of treasures – the world is so full of wonders. And, if I’m blind even then, then I go out there and invest in some remedy and cure, aka. books, articles, objects, anything to stir the mind awake.
One of such remedy I’ve invested in, in my journey to climb the block mountain and plant a conquering flag atop is literally called ‘The Writer’s Block’ by Jason Rekulak. I found this book on the shelves of Borders but always thought I’ll get it next time. I found it amusing, not because it had great suggestions, tips and prompts, but because of the actual appearance of the book. It’s small, thick, and completely square.
I had to have it, if not to help me jump over hurdles but just for the fact that I could literally say I have a ‘Writer’s block’. So, when I had the funds to purchase my block, Borders had closed many of their doors, and the little blocks had been the first to go. I guess there were a lot of writers out there who needed their own blocks. So I went home dejected and forgot about the little book – till the day I actually suffered a mental block. I was amid writing the final chapters of my second novel when I couldn’t write any longer.
I knew what I wanted to write, I had planned the ending for so long, but none of that seemed to matter – the ending just wouldn’t come, causing me to lay down my pen and wonder why I was stumped. Was it stress, was it sheer exhaustion of having written so much of the characters’ journey? Or was I afraid I couldn’t do the ending justice? To this day, I haven’t a clue – perhaps a combination of all of them, but suddenly a small book crept back into my mind and I found myself on eBay, making a purchase. Eagerly waiting to hold the block in my hands as if it would solve all my problems.
When it finally arrived in the mail, I ripped into the package and a surreal sense washed over me, I may as well have been holding my own mental blockage physically in my hand. Of course, the little book did little to advance me in my endeavour to end the story. What it did do was reignite my imagination with its words, and I guess giving my mind permission to weave another story, and another, was exactly what I needed to gain a little perspective and a bag full of ideas for future works.
I picked up my pen again, and in a ferocious hurry, sprinted towards the end with a new spring in my step.
It’s a funny thing, this block that writers’ sometimes face, which cripples our hands and squashes our confidence and drive.
Nowadays, the book sits on my writing-table (not that you’ll find me there very often). It’s there to remind me that when I feel the block, it’s nothing but a calling to take a little break and gain some perspective. Think of it as a little holiday for your over-worked mind. Alas, I have taken my sabbatical from writing and am now itching to weave words again. This blog has provided me a place to take my mind to when I need a little break.
When I set out to write about writer’s block, I certainly wasn’t expecting to write long. However, if you are a fellow writer, I hope you all find your little blocks of inspiration that can remind you from time to time to take a break. Sometimes, it’s exactly what we need.