A Whopping Case of Writer’s Block

Writer’s block. It’s happened again. Once more, I am at a loss for words.

I have a great idea for a novel and have done a basic outline. My characters appear as clearly to me as my family, and I know what they want, what they need, and what they lack. After a recent trip to The Netherlands, I came back with detailed stories of my travels, as I did with Costa Rica. They all went into a hand-written journal, where they stay. My characters wait in the wings for me to set them free. I struggle even with this, my blog, where I swore I would write whatever was on my mind and not worry about it. I have, on many occasions, even abandoned my Morning Pages (from the Artist’s Way). Today is the first day this week that I haven’t broken my promise to myself to write something, anything.

Could I make excuses? Sure. We’ve had some challenges this year in our little family. I’ve also put in a garden, which, when begun from scratch, takes a lot of work and energy. But life gets in the way of all writers, and the successful ones are those who write, day in and day out, even when life has encroached into the writing world.

Lately I’ve been sucked in by the news, particularly the oil spill. We’re having a bad year, between earthquakes, volcanoes, spills, unemployment, etc., and it’s hard not to get depressed about it. Of course, the news from the world of publishing isn’t good, either. Writers are having a tougher time getting published, and sales are down. Patchwork and Ornament recently won an award, but the kudos do not translate into sales, not yet.

But is that a reason not to write?

Here’s the thing. Writing helps me live my life better. Those Morning Pages, the three, simple, longhand pages of drivel, center me. They provide meditative benefits that help set the course for my day. While novel writing still feels difficult to me, I like the challenge. I enjoy having my characters do or say something unexpected. When I work out a plot problem, I feel a sense of satisfaction I never felt on any job. When I write each day, I find myself being more creative in other aspects of my life.

So here goes. Here is a simple blog, an honest confession of my writing frustrations. It’s something. It’s a start. In cognitive behavioral therapy, we are reminded to give ourselves credit. I commit to getting back to my Morning Pages. I will gently, kindly, lovingly guide myself back to the path. And I will remind myself of what I learned years ago from 12-Step programs: This Too Shall Pass.

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