I hate being stuck. I like forward motion–the methodical progression from one task to another with efficiency and excellence. I grow impatient with delay and loathe stagnation, yet that seems to be where I spend most of my time. At least that’s how it feels, especially in my writing.
Have you ever been there? To that place where your muse morphs into a gremlin and devours your words before they find their way to the page. Where she mocks your persistent attempts at creativity with the hypnotic pulse of the cursor on a white screen. How I wish there were no such thing as writer’s block.
I know what you’re thinking. Writer’s block isn’t unique to me. Everyone has experienced it at one time or another, and, surely, people who presume to make their living as writers need to have the determination and wherewithal to tackle it head on. I know all this, and still there are times I am struck mute by a creative paralysis that I’m hard-pressed to overcome.
The advice most writers offer is simply to keep going, but I find the harder I try to keep writing, the worse the problem becomes. It’s a mind game, I know it, but I still get stuck. So, what’s the answer?
Within the past week I’ve read two other blogs dealing with this issue, and they both address the heart of my problem. Lora Zill, in her blog the blue collar artist, states that “if we can’t ‘express’ ourselves through our art, perhaps something has shaken us or caused us to doubt. We lack trust in our gifts, lack trust that when we sit down and stare at a screen…that God will show up.” Author and blogger Jeff Goins puts it this way: “The point is that the creative life is more about repetitions than revelations. It’s about going to work every day and trusting the mystery.”
Both authors agree that trust is essential to the creative process, and it’s something I sorely lack: trust in myself, my talent, the process, and the God who promises to give me the strength to do all things. I can almost hear him whispering to me, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”
So, from now on, I will endeavor to learn to trust in my words, in my voice, and in my call. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you. How do you deal with writer’s block? What advice can you share?