Nearly slipping on the fancy red rug, he stumbles around the corner of the hallway. The chandeliers rock back and forth eerily, shoved from rest by unknown forces. A low cackling echoes from everywhere at once, yet seems to be behind him as he runs. Whispering fills his ears. The lights click off one by one, trying to catch up to him. Panting, sweating, his stomach twisted into knots, he stumbles around another corner and finds himself face to face with a heavy oak door. The cackling and whispering cease abruptly as his eyes lock onto the faded brown door. The door is incredibly old, and seems unremarkable. But he feels something, something strange, yet oddly familiar. In a flash he knows that the answers he has been seeking lie beyond the door. The explanation to the creatures stalking him in the night, the ceaseless nightmares, the inexplicable feeling he had whenever he looked at this old mansion, all of these would be explained the moment he stepped across the threshold.
He lays a sweaty and shaking hand on the brass knob. It feels cold, far too cold. As he turns the knob, it seems almost reluctant, like it’s trying to protect him. But whatever was behind that door, he had to know. Slowly, slowly, slowly he turns the knob, and the door pops open. A draft of cool air billows forth, ruffling his clothing. Steeling himself, he pulls open the door and steps inside.
It feels much cooler in here than anywhere else in the mansion. The moon shines in through a large window in the back, casting a dim light on the far end, the only source of illumination in the entire room. He’s about to take a step further when suddenly a silhouetted figure darts past the window, casting a misshapen shadow. He gasps, and turns around only to watch the door he entered from slam shut. He turns back toward the window, and sees the blinds descend, casting the room into total darkness.
Instinctively he knows something is staring at him, mere inches from his face. He can feel its breath. Shakily, he pulls a tiny pocket flashlight out of his pants. He points it directly in front of him, and clicks it on.
And there, standing in front of him is the specter of someone who should not there. The phantom of the past. The emblem of all his troubles. Slowly his mind starts to unravel. How, how could this be?
Standing in front him was none other than…than…
And then you realize, your fingers stopping mid-sentence, and you stare at the words before you. You have no idea where this is going. It all leads up to this one pivotal, essential moment, but you don’t know how it should end. You stare down at your immovable hands. And then it hits you. Writer’s block. It happens to many writers somewhere down the line. You just didn’t expect it to happen to you.
How many of you have encountered a situation like this before? A situation where you simply cannot write, or even think of anything. Where your creative energy just leaves you, flies away like a bird escaping captivity. If you answered “no”, you’re probably lying to yourself.
Writer’s block can happen, and will happen at some point in your writing. It’s pretty much inevitable. It’s best not to try to avoid it, because in most cases you will simply hasten its coming. You can only fight it once it arrives.
AND HERE IS MY THREE-STEP PROGRAM FOR DEALING WITH WRITER’S BLOCK. FEEL TRAPPED NO MORE! EXPERIENCE PURE CREATIVE ENERGY! STEP RIGHT UP AND FEEL THE WORDS FLOW!
Just kidding. In reality there really is no hard and fast solution (like many of the things in our craft) to writer’s block. It just happens, and you have to find your own path through it. So then, why am I telling you all this? Why am I even talking about the problem of writer’s block? The answer is simple: you’re not alone.
One of the things that tends to happen to people who experience this is that they withdraw into themselves, and feel like they’re all alone in the world. The truth is, you’re not. So many young writers and even older, acclaimed writers will experience this from time to time. Writing is not a science. You can’t just draw up a formula for producing lengthy, quality writing and use it every single time you want to write a story. You stumble forth, blindly following your inspiration wherever it takes you. Then, once you finish a piece of work, you begin the process of hammering it out into something you can be proud of.
As for actually dealing with writer’s block itself, like I said there is no clear perfect way to do it. It all depends on who you are as a person. Some might just need to take a break from writing. Some people might like to read a book to get their creativity flowing again. Others might play a video game. Another possibility is taking a walk. Studies have shown that walking does help provide that creative jolt.
Regardless of what your method is, you do what you have to do. Because we are all imperfect beings with flaws and issues, who have our own unique quirks and personalities. We have our own ways of coping with the world and its problems. We have our own hopes and dreams, our own paths through life. We are not just machines that can effortlessly crank out writing whenever we feel like it. We are unpredictable. We are often cranky when things don’t go the way we want it to. We are mellow. We are loud. We are who we are, and there’s no better way to put it.
That’s all I’ve got for you this week. Tune in next Wednesday for another post. Until then, have a wonderful week.