Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Block

Whether it's the yips, the jitters, a slump or the shanks, we've all experienced something like it. You're off your game, out of the zone. You have to pull out of it or give up. A bad case of writer's block is no different. And when matters get complicated by spending time writing html code instead of stories, well, it just doesn't help.

While I needed to spend time with a web site redesign (thus the html bogey in this story), I do admit it was a convenient way to avoid having to assemble words. Bad thing was, once I completed my web project, I found I was plagued with the block. I couldn't think of anything to say. I stared at my blog and nothing came to mind.

When I quit smoking eighteen years ago, I didn't cut down, didn't use the patch or chew nicotine gum, and I didn't get hypnotized either. I quit cold turkey. Threw it all away and never looked back. And, as a very wise person recently reminded me, sometimes the only way around a problem is through it.

So through it I went. Gimme the ball coach, head down, follow my blockers, into the end zone. I had forgotten that some of my most productive writing time is when I am not writing at all. I know that doesn't make sense at first, but it's like this: I walk most evenings. Three miles. It is a great time to let my mind wander where it will, associate freely and see what happens. Generally, about two-thirds of the way through my jaunt, I come up with a story. Or two. Three if I'm very lucky that night.

Last night I was very lucky. Up until last night, I had forgotten to relax. Forgotten to focus. I had my mind on business too much and that stifled my creativity. So I quit thinking business and started to wander, to associate. And I got through the yips. The writer's block is gone for now and I'm ready to take up the keyboard once more. It may not make me a better writer, but at least I'll write.