Is it a cop-out to write a post about not being able to write a post?
Writer’s block. It’s a cute name. Gives you feckin’ hope, to paraphrase Robin Williams, that there’s something you can do about it. Maybe go around, or climb over, or maybe there’s even a secret door there somewhere.
It doesn’t really describe the experience of being unable to write, however. The part of your brain where the words live–it’s empty. You’re scraping the dirt sides of your word hoard with a rusty spoon, hoping that something is left down there. But there’s nothing.
When a major part of one’s spiritual path is the cultivation of Awen, something like writer’s block takes on an extra layer of anguish. There’s a sense that “if you were doing it right” you wouldn’t lack for inspiration. The “if you just”s swarm and guilt flows like molasses. If I had more discipline, if I made more time, if I weren’t mediocre. The more you grasp, the less you have until all there is, is a righteous pity party of one.
And then come all the well meaning comments about fallow periods, and “it happens to everyone,” and “just keep doing the work and it will pass.” Yeah, I know. The thing is, when a farmer leaves a field fallow, he does it on purpose. There’s a set time and a set season. Writer’s block has a will of its own, and like a bad roommate, it’s not sharing its schedule with you.
But, here I am, tired of not writing, not feeling that I have anything worth writing about. So I’m going to write something. I’ve managed to spew almost 300 words here. It’s not great art, but it’s something.
Why is the first sensation after numbness always pain?
4 thoughts on “Writer’s Hole”
As someone who’s experienced writer’s block – is currently experiencing what I call “quasi-writer’s block” (I’ve had to start asking my audience for topic suggestions, and I am completely tapped out writing on social justice topics, I am beyond burned out with social justice blogging) – I feel you. All the platitudes in the world about “fallow periods” don’t help when it’s happening to you and when a big part of your spirituality involves creativity. On the other hand I’ve found from my personal experience that beating myself up keeps me off the wagon longer – beating myself up about failing in terms of ritual, magick, etc, pretty much kept me from doing anything outwardly Pagan for years. YMMV. But for what it’s worth, I don’t think you have nothing to say, I always enjoy reading your blog.
I can’t blame you for being burned out on writing SJ topics. They’re emotionally wrenching at best and at worst…well, let’s just not go there today, shall we?
I’ve finally gotten my space arranged, and some of my altars set up, which means that I’m able once again able to get back into a rhythm of spiritual practice. ‘Cause as we both well know, no magic makes for a grumpy kitty. :3 It feels like some of the blockage is breaking up this week, though I don’t want to push it too fast too hard yet. You are correct in that being gentle with oneself is the key.
It’s always lovely to hear your words….the ice that covers over the dirt all around me, won’t stop spring from pouring out, and neither will your writer’s block. Sounds like you are looking for another way to speak…music….your wonderful handcrafts…..astrology?????
Looking for another way to speak is such a perfect way to put it. What I’ve been lacking in words I’ve been making up for in knitting. 😉