I can’t say I woke up today thinking about “Writers Block” but here I am with something to say! Writer’s Block is something I struggled with many times writing my first book, “Light from a Dark Night”. And it looks like millions of others struggle too. A quick google search for Writer’s Block brings up 239 million results!
There are many opinions about how to overcome Writer’s Block. I could safely lump most ideas on how to fix it into two categories. One side says to press on and write anyway and the other side says to put the pen down and take a break.
Even though there are two sides to fixing Writer’s Block, I don’t think anyone has ever diagnosed the root cause of it as well as Author Steve Rosner. In an interview he was asked to give advice on writing. I was struck by the depth of his comments regarding Writer’s Block. Here’s a portion of what he said:
“One last thought: So-called “Writer’s Block” is a complete fiction! Don’t spend thousands for therapists who supposedly will help you overcome it. If you get to a point where the ideas stop, your mind is muddled, and you can’t seem to write, don’t beat yourself up and spend hours trying to get through it. Play golf, go bowling or dancing, see a movie or go to a Bach concert . . . get away from your book for a couple of days. Your creativity will return when you least expect it. You see, WB is actually an early-warning system! It is a safety valve, like the overflow tube in car radiators. It is your soul knowing and informing your ego that what you are planning to write is not worthwhile, and not part of who you are. WB prevents you from writing that which you will regret later. If you try to force yourself to write, whatever you put down you’ll regret. Again, get away from your book; within a few days you will have clarity.”https://independentauthornetwork.blogspot.com
I think we can tell what camp Steve sides with. He definitely feels it’s better to stop writing and let the mind focus on something else for a while. But it’s his thoughts on what causes Writer’s Block which has me so excited to share with Author’s Lounge. Steve gave an interesting look at what might be going on inside of us when our writing hits a brick wall. He suggests it’s our soul or inner self telling our ego we are not on the right track.
What is ego? It’s the part of our mind which thinks we are the smartest person on earth. Our ego is what thinks our ideas are so good, even better than any other ideas. Ego tells us to keep writing and writing. But sometimes our inner self thinks otherwise and the forceful collision of both these voices causes a disconnect. Our ego says, “GO! Keep writing, this is the best stuff in the whole world” and the inner self says, “STOP! You’ll end up rewriting this later if you don’t.” Thus creating Writer’s Block!
In a way, this disconnect can be a good thing. If we listen to our inner self we might save time from endless edits later or be kept from making a mistake. Maybe our story has a hole in the plot or we’ve misquoted a source. Maybe there is a better way to write the story or discover a character who has been forgotten. The worst case scenario is our ego may have driven us to write something which is truly meaningless or worse yet- hurtful in some way. For a second I’m thinking of the responses Ego might have us write on social media- the one’s we’d truly regret. In this case, our inner self truly has our back!
I know there are some of you who write under pressure of deadlines. If it’s your job and paycheck then we all get it: you don’t have the luxury to sit back and listen to your inner self when your boss is tapping her fingernails waiting on your story! However, keep in mind, your inner self generally knows best and taking a quick break from writing might save you from publishing an article which contains an error.
Knowing about Ego and Inner Self have really changed how I think about Writer’s Block. Instead of feeling like it’s a negative- I kind of think the opposite. Now, I look at Writer’s Block as a gift. A gift of a new idea, a solution, a better way of saying something which is soon to come my way if I just take a break…
What do you think? Have you been affected by Writer’s Block? Can you see ego and inner self at play in your writing routine? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to check out my award winning book, “Light from a Dark Night”. It’s about overcoming those pesky obstacles which seem to be unleashed while trying to achieve your deepest dreams.
My dream was to adopt a child. This might not be your dream but don’t let that keep you from reading my story. I wrote it to encourage everyone no matter what big thing you might be pursuing.
And don’t forget to stop by my blog site, Letter of Light. I’ve got plenty of good stuff about life, creativity, and a little bit of spirituality.
Wishing you all the best, Anne
Anne Grove is Author of ‘Light from a Dark Night’ and writes for Letter of Light. Anne enjoys her family, writing and making art videos.