Writer’s Block : How mysterious forces conspire against you
It’s blog time and as I sit ready to write the minutes slip by with nothing to show for it. The open page of sublime text remains blank. Sometimes ideas come to mind and I half write a weak sentence before obliterating its contents. The ideas are not good enough, I don’t believe strongly in them. The more I think about it the more I am convinced. I’m blocked. So this is what it feels like. This is writers block.
It took me several minutes to accept the fact that I was indeed facing the famous foe known throughout history as writer’s block. It took several more minutes to determine that the cop out from this painful situation was to write about writer’s block itself. That’s where things got interesting.
I was a little apprehensive about using my only get out of jail free card so early in my writing career. What would I do when I got stuck again? More importantly how did I get stuck in the first place? What was actually blocking me? As is often the case, the first enemy we need to overcome is ourselves.
Critical Matt the Blocking Machine
Yes it’s true, I confess, I am guilty as charged. It was me and me alone who created the blockage. This is a little strange at first glance, but when we consider it more closely we realize we do this to ourselves all the time. Have you ever told yourself that you couldn’t do something? That there is no way that would work? That all those other people will think your ideas is stupid? How about the one thousand and one ways you will fail? Any of those sound familiar? Of course they do. We all do this on a regular basis, often subconsciously. This limiting mindset is something that is holding us back.
The reason I felt like I couldn’t write something was because I believed I was blocked. That’s it. When I didn’t immediately find something that I thought would be interesting to write about I assumed I was out of good ideas. Then my mind toyed with the idea of writer’s block. Still I had no ideas and the thought of being blocked grew stronger and stronger. My mind had now latched onto the concept of writer’s block. The more I tried to not be “blocked” the more I ended up focusing on writer’s block, which you guessed it, left me blocked.
I wasn’t actually blocked, there was nothing physically preventing me from writing. I could always write, but I was too consumed by my writer’s block to give that much thought. I was spending all my energy trying to figure out how I could become unblocked instead of focusing on what I should write about. Does anyone else see what’s wrong with this picture? I am the one who originally thought “hey I might have writer’s block.” If I had no concept of what writer’s block was I would be happily looking for things to write about. Instead the concept of writer’s block which only exists in my head was blocking me from writing. This entire problem was created, and sustained within my own mind. To make matter’s worse trying harder to get unstuck from writer’s block was like struggling in quicksand, I only get nowhere faster.
Fortunately the source of this problem is also where we can look for its solution. Because this block is entirely mental its solution lies within us. It is belief that makes writer’s block powerful. If we don’t believe that we can get blocked and continue to search for solutions, despite not finding once immediately we will not be blocked. Furthermore we will continue to remain unblocked for as long as we continue to believe we will find a solution. We are only blocked when we think are blocked.
Have you walked through any walls lately?
Belief is a powerful force that we can use for our own benefit or our downfall if were not careful. Things we believe to be possible become more attainable, while the limits we impose upon ourselves are built like concrete walls. They look so strong that we never question them. Our walls feel so real that it would be ridiculous to try to walk right through them. To do so would be to realize that there is not really a wall there at all, just the illusion of one. That is what writer’s block is to me. It is the illusion of being stuck, and it’s such a powerful illusion that we rarely try to step through the wall to see if it is really there. On the other side of the wall lies opportunity.
Writer’s block is an imaginary limit we impose on ourselves when we don’t want to put in the work required to come up with good ideas. As a result we create a reason for why we can’t write and this reason coupled with a belief combine to prevent us from generating real ideas. As with all mental blocks when we challenge our limits and step up to the wall we realize it is nothing but a powerful illusion. The illusions only have the power we give them. By removing our belief in these limits we steal the power from them giving us the strength needed to accomplish what we have set out to do.
What beliefs are holding you back? How can you move through them?