Maybe it’s because I’ve read a number of blogs lately that deal with the subject of writer’s block, or maybe it’s because I seem to be suffering from that affliction at the moment but, whatever the reason, it’s been weighing heavy on my mind today.
And then suddenly there it was…the proverbial epiphany.
Writer’s block likely isn’t writer’s block – ever. It’s just a neat little label we use to describe those moments when our ocean of words and ideas seems to have run dry. And I believe that if we examine our unique situations, we’ll find a more logical cause. One that we can do something about.
I don’t know about you, but writing isn’t all I do. I’m not just an author. There are countless details I have to deal with every single day of my life. Chores I need to tend to, meals that need to be prepared, bills to pay, shopping to do, friends and family who need at least some of my attention.
Most of the time it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all I’d like to. Too often I find myself disappointed because my to-do list is almost as long as it was when I started checking items off.
And that leads to stress, which I think accounts for much of what we call writer’s block. Even when you’re not consciously thinking about it, it’s still there. That never ending list of responsibilities and obligations.
Sure, the concept of, “I can have it all, do it all, be it all…” is a nice fantasy, but the reality is, most of us can’t. It doesn’t stop us from trying though, does it? The only problem is, there’s only so much any one person can do, and then something has to give. Maybe the brain decides that enough is enough…and takes a much needed vacation.
And we cry ‘writer’s block!’
Another area to examine is your sleep hygiene. I love that term. It brings to mind things like daily showers and ultra deodorants. Applying it to sleep, however, boggles the mind.
Wouldn’t it be great if bad sleep hygiene could be taken care of that easily? Technically it can be. All it takes is going to bed earlier, or setting the alarm later. Most of us won’t do that though.
So here we are, stressed out by life, and sleep deprived on top of it. And we stare at a blank computer screen, our minds just as empty as the bright white file before us…and we blame it on writer’s block.
Instead of longing for the muse to return, perhaps our time would be better spent taking stock of what’s going on in our lives.
Human beings like to feel important. We like people to depend on us, to need us. Because it makes us feel good. But how much of what we do doesn’t really need to be done at all? How much of it do we impose on ourselves just to have our egos stroked?
Maybe it’s time to make a list. What does your typical day look like? How many of those activities are actually necessary? Draw a line through anything that isn’t absolutely essential to your survival, or that of your family.
Now…how much sleep have you been averaging lately? My guess is nowhere near the recommended amount to qualify as good sleep hygiene. But guess what? You’ve already freed up a lot of time by paring down your list, so use some of it to get a little more rest.
Ten to one, if you take a good, honest look at what’s going on in your life, you’ll find that you don’t have writer’s block at all. You’ve simply pushed yourself to the limit, and your brain is just too exhausted to be creative right now.
So do yourself a favor and give it the break it needs. If you want to write…