NON-FICTION – Apologies to my fans.
In recent times, I have been dealing with a thing every writer – at least, I hope every writer – has dealt with at least one time in their career…WRITER’S BLOCK!!!
Dirty words, I know. My block not only affects my writing, it affects almost every aspect of my communication in this life – I stammer during conversations, I forget where I put things, I find myself staring into space lost in blankness and yes, a simple email to a friend is like pulling teeth from a lion.
Why am I blocked? I fear that I am blocked because I am falling prey to expectation and judgement. Expectation and self judgement lead to the perception of stress, the perception of stress leads to the release of the so-called stress hormones and these hormones wreak havoc on your ability to concentrate, at least, this is how I understand it, but please forgive my lack of credential to back that statement up, I’m a writer, not a neuroscientist.
If I have done little in the way of editing, my apologies, it is simply because this is an exercise in Firing Through. I am blocked you see.
Firing Through for me means doing what I do, I write, but at this point, I am writing anything and everything that comes to mind, it need not make sense, it need not be cohesive, it simply means sitting in front of the keyboard, suspending expectation, suspending the pressure and stress that comes with creative concoction and getting my fingers back into the exercise of forming words on the keyboard.
This would be my one limitation, rule, what have you; the formation of words. Thought and sentence do not matter, it is simply the act of making words on the keyboard which helps me to get through. Think of yourself as a youngster, sitting in front of your first ever keyboard, wondering what in tarnation this fandangled thing was and how it was ever going to help you “get a job”. Then out of the blue seemingly, comes this person who then instructs you to place your fingers in a certain manner and you begin typing – s..s…s..s…s – the first steps to building muscles. Forming words on this keyboard was simply practice in those days….cat…cat…cat..cat…but when you’re blocked, defaulting back to those basic days of keyboarding can actually be cathartic.
I remember having an instructor teach us this off-the-wall exercise that was so not common curriculum in keyboarding, it was a competition. She had us place our fingers on the home keys and then when she said “Go” we were to look around the room and type as many things as we could see, never looking down from our gaze. Looking back on this, she must have been a writer. It is yet another technique for Firing Through that I use to try to break the spell of writer’s block.
I was told once when I was very, very young and avidly going through pencil after pencil and exercise book after exercise book, that if I ever lost track of my story, to write about what I was feeling instead. Okay, yes, I did then spend years writing constantly about what I was feeling rather than forming audience oriented stories until some 15 years later it hit me, but the point was made. When you are blocked, exploring your inner feelings and thoughts can actually lead to the release of your block….I wonder if my elementary school teacher was himself a writer as well, or it was an attempt to steer me clear of writing horror fiction that he found disturbing?
Regardless, each time you find yourself staring at a keyboard and the words won’t come, or the thoughts won’t coalesce, start back at the basics. S-s-s-s-s-A-a-a-a-D-d-d-d-sad-sad-sad. Don’t judge it with punctuation or spacing for that matter, just let it out, let your fingers go and they will find the connection to your mind.
Fire through the block.