Blocks Aren’t Always Mental
By Annette Rey
Writing ideas are always in front of you, so dismiss the excuse of writer’s block. Sometimes, though, your writing can be utterly stopped when a crucial life event takes place.
My time the past few months has been consumed by caring for a terminally ill patient. That includes attending all of his doctor and hospital visits, making calls dealing with his nursing home situation, and settling up his personal affairs. The time left in my day is spent eating one meal, barely tending to my personal needs (my house is a mess), and falling into nonregenerative sleep. Hence, this has been a HUGE block to my writing.
This block is not mental. It has nothing to do with lack of ideas, inability to structure sentences, or facing the blank page. This block has been a physical reality. I can’t write when my body is engaged in driving, attending medical visits, packing his personal items, etc.
I am in awe of mothers who can write anything after or during a day of managing children, not to speak of all the other duties she must fulfill in one day. Imagine how tired she must be. Her mental exhaustion must be greater than her physical depletion. But somehow, many mothers can press through and put words to the page.
Life crises, lack of time, and being exhausted, are true physical blocks in a writer’s life. But while a writer is dealing with the responsibilities of his life, he nonetheless has writing ideas passing by his mind’s eye. He is frustrated he can’t make those ideas a reality by putting them into print. His internal dialog may be telling him he is not a real writer after all. And he may give up on the idea of ever giving his ideas life. There may be unnecessary guilt feelings and he may be unable to forgive himself for failing to put pen to paper.
But I encourage writers to turn those thoughts around when the crises in their lives have passed. And crises DO finally end.
My belief that there is no such thing as mental writer’s block is a positive statement for writers to hang on to, to believe in themselves, and to defy the so-called blank page. The world is full of subjects for writers to mine. Just accepting that fact is half the battle. Then, like looking for ancient artifacts or precious minerals, writers must first scratch the surface.
Choose a topic. Investigate it. Our brains are way ahead of our conscious minds as we study a subject. Already sentences are being formed, ideas are being grasped, and by the time you set in to write about the subject, your writing will seem automatic.
I have come to the conclusion that writing is about belief in oneself.
Once you, the person with the writer’s mind, can manage the life events that hinder you, you will eventually find your way back to the page. And you will forgive yourself for having been absent.
Then you start anew. You will experience that calming, comforting feeling of being with yourself. Relaxing your breathing. Being with the writer within you. Creating a physical thing of your intangible thoughts. It’s no longer labor.
It’s just like magic.