Letters of Life

Dealing with Writer’s Block

Edit menu (navigator selected) in OpenOffice 2.3.

Not Search and Rescue but Find and Replace.

How does one deal with writer’s block afterall?

There are no less than eight drafts of posts lying around in my post folder, idling, unfinished, half-ideas on universal themes of love and friendship, scattered seeds of thought, the remnants of remembered conversations without structure, without coherence.

I click open another draft, not mine. It’s 25 pages of a single chapter, comprising almost 10,000 words. I’m going to go to the Edit menu and click the Find function to hound out certain words buried in the thickets of paragraphs.

I scroll down the screen, line upon line of text, looking for words now highlighted by my helpful word editor, words such as “relatively”, “somewhat”, and “essentially.”

These are useful words when used judiciously, like cough medicine or cayenne pepper. But in a long essay where the main idea is constantly at risk of being subsumed under a mountain of supporting ideas and rationale which hover on the precipice of clarity, where the main line is at risk of being derailed, like a train huffing around a mountain and getting buried under an avalanche, one must at least be watchful of the loose stones and ominous rumbles.

One needs to trim off the little bits of weight, things that had use on the ground, but for a mountaineer, is no longer a necessity in his slow climb up the painful inclines, through the rarefied layers of air to reach the top.

Back to the road block. There are many ways to get over the barrier. Different strokes for different folks.

You can mindmap your way out of disinspiration, you can read for inspiration, go for a run, clear the addled brain. In the end though, it boils down to mood. Where mood crashes into discipline (or the lack of it), like crosscurrents in the ocean, where cold meets warm, you eddy around aimlessly until you summon the will and the strength to make the leap.

Always, the leap.

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3 Responses »

  1. So true, beautifully written πŸ™‚

    Two thoughts came to mind through your article:
    – less is often more
    – finishing inspiration often comes after time away from the piece

  2. Thank you, William, for commenting. Yes, you are right of course; less is infinitely more. . . . better to leave things unsaid, sometimes. πŸ˜€ And time away is always good.

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