Writer’s Block—Real or Imagined?
The condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing has plagued writers for eons and will continue to do so in the future. It’s an occupational hazard. So, what is the underlying cause of such a disabling condition? Here’s my take on Writer’s Block.
1. Procrastination. Writers are the worst procrastinators. Admit it, writers use some of the most creative excuses to delay writing. Checking email, browsing social media, watching television, or daydreaming all in the guise of finding inspiration, or waiting for the Muse to speak to them. When actually, the writer is simply making excuses to delay the deed of writing.
2. Mentally stuck. Writing requires an open mind for the thoughts to flow. The mind can get bogged down with life details such as overdue bills, car repairs, what to make for dinner, and tens of thousands of other thoughts. These life details build up in the brain, building a damn so new thoughts can not flow freely. The brain becomes constipated and literally stops the creative writing process from occurring.
It is said we have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, this means between 35 and 48 thoughts per minute per person. Neuroscientist and philosopher Dr. Deepak Chopra agrees, although–being a rigorous, skeptical scientist, he acknowledged some error in his measurements and said “60,000 to 80,000”. That’s a lot of neurons working overtime, creating massive amounts of chatter inside the head. With all that mental noise, how would one hear the voice of the Muse?
To clear my head of the chatter, I write a to-do list. This helps to reduce some of the static trapped inside my brain. It also helps to focus my thoughts, to prioritize details, and it reduces mental stress. A mind can not function at peak performance when one attempts to remember every single thought banging around inside the head.
I’m not a huge fan of multitasking, so I try to focus on one thought. When the brain tries to do two things at once, it divides and conquers, dedicating one-half of our gray matter to each task, new research shows. But forget about adding another mentally taxing task: The work also reveals that the brain can’t effectively handle more than two complex, related activities at once. Multitasking Splits the Brainby Gisela Telis.
The whole point of writing is to get your thoughts down on paper or on a word processor. If the thoughts aren’t yet formed or I’m not sure of the direction the writing should take, I don’t seek out things to keep me busy until inspiration strikes. I begin writing about the chatter inside my head. With 3 to 4 dozen thoughts per minute, there’s plenty to write about. I just let the words flow. I don’t try to direct the ideas, I simply record the thoughts that are in my head. This exercise has nothing to do with the writing I should be doing, but I’m also not sitting around waiting for inspiration, If anything, I force inspiration by documenting the static in my mind. Once I begin writing, thoughts begin to gel and peculate and within no time, I’m humming along with the muse and back on track with my primary writing. As for the dribble I wrote while clearing my head, that’s filed away as a reference for future writing projects.
I don’t truly believe there is a thing called Writer’s Block. It’s simply a term writers tack onto those occasions when their brain is constipated, filled with too many thoughts. I don’t give myself permission to get bogged down in a concept that’s counterproductive. Writer’s Block is real, I know cause I have a wooden block that sits on my desk. It’s etched with “Writer’s Block” on the side.
For me, that’s Writer’s Block.
Bestselling Author Dale Thele
Fiction with an LGBTQ+ Twist
corrupting readers since 2008
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