Why Writer’s Block Is A Good Thing

Writer's Block

Prioritising the mornings for writing and moving other work commitments to the afternoon feels really good.  When I let it slip the mental chatter sets off an unease in my belly.

When  I hit a patch of procrastinating it ranges from reaching into the fridge to watching a short motivational video to working on something else completely. Eventually I get sick of procrastinating and how that feels so I face into the obstacle and find a way through.

Every time it inspires a new technique.  Let me give you an example.  I’d been wanting to write about a particular memory but it was a brief moment lasting less than a minute.  I didn’t know how to start writing about it because it was such a short thing to describe so I was stuck.  After a week of procrastinating, eventually I sat with the block and just started to describe the room I’d been in when it happened.   This led onto writing about the view from the window and how peaceful the house was to convalesce in.  It turned out to be useful information as setting the scene contrasted with the hospital environment.

I usually find scene setting quite boring and irrelevant to read in novels and memoirs.  I tend to think the writer is just showing off or trying to get their quota of words up.  I usually skim read it until I get to the what I consider to be the relevant bits.  So it’s not a style of writing I would naturally do myself.  Hence it created a block in me.

Now I know that trying to avoid writing is a sign that I’ve hit some kind of block which just means I’m about to break through into a new kind of writing technique.  Or I’ve touched some buried emotion which I need to let go of.

I’m really enjoying this process of learning such an amazing craft.  Anyone who finishes writing a book has achieved a great deal.  It’s just me  and the page and my ability to focus.  I need to be aware of all the tricks I use to avoid facing into challenges otherwise they’ll just get the better of me.  It requires a willingness to face into what I’m trying to avoid.  I don’t have to figure it out. I just have to be willing to show up and hang around in front of a block for inspiration.

I’ve been looking for a mentor and not having much success finding the right person.  I realise, like death, this is a journey I might have to face alone.

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  5 comments for “Why Writer’s Block Is A Good Thing

  1. emma
    February 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Hey Emma,
    What a great blog – your write really well. I loved the avocado blog particularly. Sorry to hear finding a mentor is proving tricky. Maybe it’s one of those ‘ultimately you have to face it alone, but there are others on the path’ kind of journeys? I was wondering …if you need any peer reviewing would you like to do an exchange with me. I could send you my graphic novel storyboard and you send me whatever you like?
    emma x

  2. emmagoude
    February 16, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Hi Emma,

    Thanks for reading! I love knowing that you are also on the path with your graphic novel.

    I am mostly happy with my writing at this stage and I think I was looking for something outside of myself – validation – motivation – affirmation. I’ve discovered, that for me at least, all this has to come from within to be effective. I’m learning to access my inner guide more and more. Sometimes I over criticise my writing – but I’ve noticed that I only do this when it is going public. When I’m home alone reading it back, I’m mostly pleased with it.

    There is a woman (not mentor material) who critiqued my first few chapters. She’s an experienced published author able to help me shape my book into something good enough for a publisher. I will probably pay her as I go along because her feedback was ‘brutally’ honest. Everything she noticed and commented on was incredibly valuable, though not always easy to hear. My sense is that peer reviewing might shy away from this. I have to know someone really well in order to be that honest – so they know I love them and they trust my opinion.

    So what I’m saying is that peer reviewing, at this stage, doesn’t feel like the direction I want to go in. Though I love that you want to connect with me through it. I’m also moving away from myself as this supportive person as I’m really sick and tired of it. So mostly when people want my support these days I feel resentment. This is not a good place to review all your hard work from.

    But if you start a blog and send me the link – I’ll sign up and read all your posts and follow the adventure with you. I’m all up for having fun in our adventures together!

    Are you aware that Caspar’s latest book. Tribe Warrior, is now a graphic novel? Perhaps he might be willing to review your work. He mentors writers (for a fee)…just a thought. I’d take my work to him, as he’s had a memoir published, but we might pull each others eyes out. Or worse still…have an affair!

    Love to you!

    • emma
      February 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      hey thanks Emma,
      Sorry to be a bit slow replying, I’ve had to rest my hands last few days due to RSI – another hazard of spending a lot more time than I used to writing and drawing: I hope it’s the kind of thing I can build up a tolerance to.
      Totally get the support/resent thing. Not a problem for me as there are lots of us on the course and we peer review each other regularly. We’re all being pretty cautious and nice so far but apparently the balance swings towards tough as the summer approaches.
      Yes, thanks, I sort of knew about Caspar’s graphic novel but had forgotten. Just had a look online but couldn’t get an image of a visual page apart from one of one big drawing, which is a shame – I’ll have to have a look in a shop or fork out and buy it, why not. It wasn’t clear on amazon if he did the drawings himself or if it’s another artist. Guess I can ask him myself when I see him. I did ask him about mentoring a while back, funnily enough, but I’ll leave it for now because I get a fair bit of input from the course. Sometimes it’s hard for me not to get swept into wanting external validation/approval from outside, because it’s so available on the course: I went into the course partly because I felt I needed that support to keep going, but it’s interesting to notice how the need fluctuates and how, while sometimes the external boosting feels necessary for me to keep at it, at this stage, sometimes I have to stop myself in my tracks and say “What are you doing? Is this what feels most true to your purpose or just what you think they’ll want to see/will get you the best marks?”.
      Might start a blog soon, just getting a website together at the moment, so I’ll send u the link when it’s up.
      lots of love,

  3. emmagoude
    February 18, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Can’t wait to see your work in the world!

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