I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. Writers talk about it all the time, but I always wonder if it really exists. Or it is just a convenient explanation for the occasional fear that we let keep us from the keyboard? My writer friends and I talk about the odd tug and pull of this passion of ours. I’m drawn to writing and yet, I’ll literally look for reasons I can’t get to it. I’ll get to that writing as soon as I defrost the fridge (even though I’ve never done that) or after I clean out my car (well, I’ve never done that either – that’s what boys are for.) The bottom line is I will do things I don’t like to do just to put off sitting down and writing, but it has nothing to do with being blocked. I have ideas galore. I have pieces waiting to be written or edited. Still, I avoid.
If it’s not a block, what is it that causes this reluctance? My boys were runners so I always think of a track meet. The runner lines up, waiting for the gun to go off. There’s that moment of anticipation, expectation, fear that can almost freeze him in that spot. Thank goodness for the shock of the pistol. For a writer there is no external force to get us off that line. We have to intrinsically motivate ourselves. Which is the problem for most of us.
Writing professors – myself included – tell their students that nothing happens until you put your butt in the chair. Perhaps we should take our own advice. Of course, I vow each year to do better. Most people use the New Year’s resolution for weight loss/exercise that in all likelihood won’t happen, but I use writing. I will write three pages a day no matter what I say each January. Then, I have student essays to grade and pets to care for and a husband to tend to. And let’s not forget that all important refrigerator thaw.