For several days now I've been experiencing one of those things I've heard writers complain about so often - the one that hasn't plagued me since those days when I was writing my Ph.D. dissertation! It's the bane of writers throughout history: Writer's Block.
I've been facing a blank notepad, a shining computer screen, and simply staring with glazed-over eyes. The challenge of embarking on a new essay or concept summary seems daunting. Maybe it's because for the last month I've focused most of my efforts on editing, re-editing and re-re-editing my collection of short stories. Or, maybe it's all the election buzz, television overload, radio commentators, newspaper headlines and persistent public chatter that's driving me to distraction? Fortunately, it will end by midnight Tuesday. Unfortunately, and in all likelihood, it will be replaced with post-election analysis overload.
Complaining to a writing friend yesterday, she offered some sage advice. "Just forget your 'writer's block' for a few minutes and think consider this idea: try to remember your best and most productive writing moments. Try to recall, not so much the event or time but rather, the feelings." The only way for me to imagine those times was also to consider what's changed, what's different? I thought about that one for a good long time before an answer began to bounce around my cranium! Now it seems ridiculously simple and trite yet none the less accurate!
Nothing outside is different or, that is, different enough to inhibit my usual uninhibited flow. What's really changed over the past decade however are the demands I make of myself - the expectations I put on my writing, my editing, and upon the lyrical quality and nature of my words. The more words I put on a page, and the more writers' whose art I read, the greater are the demands I place on my own writing. It's impossible to identify my best writing moments, but recalling the emotions that accompanied them tells me everything I need to know. And "Inner Critic" is the parent of my "Writer's Block."
My goal on Election Day ever is to banish that Inner Critic until another Election Day rolls around!