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Writing Through Writer's Block

Andrea Cagan - Tuesday, April 03, 2018
Writing Through Writer's Block

As I started to write my blog this morning, I sat there for a few minutes, contemplating what I wanted to write about. My mind skipped to a load of possible topics but I didn't really want to write about any of them. Last week and the one before that, I knew what I wanted to say before I did it. The words just seemed to flow naturally out of me and it turned out okay. So why was I faltering this week? What was different?

I had writer’s block, plain and simple, and each time I started, I stopped almost immediately. Nothing resonated. It all sounded ridiculous. I was caught in a bind, wanting to write and not wanting to write. And then, if I did, who would care anyway?

When I start asking those questions, I go to my tried and true method to get moving again – I write my way through writer’s block:

It looks something like this:

I have writer’s block. I hate it. It feels like I can't possibly write about anything that matters, so why do I even try? I might as well clean the house or go grocery shopping. How about writing about a success or a failure, joy or sorrow? Did anything interesting happen last week? Nope.

It may surprise you how moving your hands across the keyboard and seeing what shows up can open up the gateways to your creativity. I guide my students through obstacles and blocks in my class by asking them to write for the prescribed amount of time, about forty-five minutes. No matter what happens or how they feel, they agree to keep their pen moving or the keyboard clicking. If they fall prey to the negativity of writer’s block, they can write about everything and nothing but it’s not time to stop. It's like idling in a traffic jam. You sit still (sit at the computer) and then you begin moving in tiny increments (a word or a sentence.) You move slowly and then suddenly the traffic lets up (you get in a rhythm with your words), and you're home free, speeding along and feeling free and shiny – until you hit the next roadblock.

They come and go and each time you get stuck, its back to Square One and you have to start all over again. This is life. If at first . . . you know how it goes. Light up the path and go for it.


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