Creative blocks can crop up in any field, whether you’re an artist, a storyteller, a race car driver or anything else you can think of. I’m apparently in one now, and that’s going to turn out to be a good thing for all of us. Because I intend to map the way through it. Granted, my map might not work for you. But it might inspire your to explore a road or two you might not have otherwise taken.
Briefly, the 'problem'
I’ve been oddly unable to get going on the next novel on my To-Be-Written (TBW) list. Even before the beautiful weather arrived to compete for my attention, I was having trouble getting started. I have written the first few scenes of 5 different plots for the same book. Two were suspensy, one a romantic comedy, one a marriage of convenience, and one a tragedy to be overcome.
None of them feel right.
I don't believe in writer's block
I have publicly repeated the famous (among writers) Nora Roberts quote, “The cure for writer’s block is to put your ass in the chair.” This has been my answer, in fact, whenever asked about the subject. I’ve never believed anything could take charge of what I do. If I choose to write, I thought, I will write. So for me this problem has never occurred, not once in 23 years. I’ve already learned something new then. It exists. It can happen to anyone.
Quick review: What's a problem, really?
If you’ve been following me for a while you already know this, but I have to remind myself of it often. The things we call problems are what my favorite teacher Esther Hicks calls “contrast.” I like that word because it implies a thing that helps one gain clarity. The instant we can identify an unwanted condition, or problem, we automatically know the wanted condition, or solution, more clearly than we’ve ever known it before.
So first, I identify the problem: I can’t seem to write the next story from where I am right now.
Then I identify the solution: To be in a state where the words flow like water.
Bam. Done. I’ve created the solution simply by identifying it. I’ve put extra strong power behind its becoming because the problem gave me a stronger-than-ever-before desire for the solution. (When you look at this this way it soon becomes difficult to see a problem as a bad thing, but rather, as a challenge to evolve past it, into the solution.
But wait, what about looking back?
The initial instinct is often to look back and try to see where the problem came from, why it came, how I attracted it. I already had the condition where the words were flowing well, and somehow I lost it. So shouldn’t I want to know where I got off course? What caused the block? What I did wrong?
Look, if it’s obvious, then it’s okay to acknowledge that, yeah, I can see how I got off track there. But if it’s not that easy, don’t spend any more time on it. Don’t make it a Sherlock Holmes case you’re compelled to solve. That keeps the entire focus on the problem.
We can’t move backward, we can only move forward. Looking back keeps our forward motion from happening. Looking back, even to analyze what went wrong, is just slowing down our forward progress and keeping the solution at bay and the problem alive and well and in our lives.
How to move forward
I got a Note from the Universe about the time I was struggling to figure out what I was supposed to do about all of this. Notes from the Universe come to me from Mike Dooley at tut.com where anyone can sign up for these daily emails that are often exactly what I need to hear at the time of their arrival.
Note from the Universe
And I am with you.
Now, do you know how to float on water? For the most part you do absolutely nothing, at which point I can hold you at the surface, in the palm of my hand. It’s simply a matter of physics, the laws of time and space, and your natural state.
Are you with me?
Okay, now you’ll have to trust me, but it’s the same when it comes to floating in wealth and abundance, health and harmony, friends and laughter. These are your natural state, your default settings, the “givens” in this great adventure. These are where true balance is found. They can be yours without strenuous effort. You don’t even have to visualize them. Just stop the argument that claims you’re without. Surrender in the struggle that presumes lack. Come out from the fort that has kept you so safe, and follow your heart with abandon.
You can breathe now,
The note lifted me right up. The answer isn’t in struggling to figure out which plot or even which story I’m supposed to be writing. There’s no such thing as “supposed to be.” I get to write whatever I want, whenever I want, however I want.
The challenge, the big fat hairy challenge for me, right now, is to my faith.
Do I really believe what I teach?
Do I really believe in the things I post about here? That anyone can raise their vibration through choosing to be in joy and appreciation and love, and therefore attract wonderful experiences that match those vibrations, in effect, creating their own life, their own reality? Do I really believe that everything I wish to do and be has to flow straight to me if I will only allow it? That it is law, like the law of gravity. Things can’t fall up. Vibration is attracted to like-vibration. Those two statements are equally true.
Pluck a guitar & an identically tuned string on another guitar in the same room begins to vibrate. Like attracts like. Like creates like.
I do believe it. I think it’s an unexplored area of of science and quantum physics. I think one day it will be studied, proven, understood and accepted as completely as “the world is round” has been accepted. When that happens, I like to think our entire society can evolve into something beautiful, peaceful and abundant. A Utopia. It’s a beautiful thing to imagine, but I do imagine it.
So if I believe all of that, then it shouldn’t be this hard to stop struggling to make the next story happen, the whole career happen, and just relax and allow. If I really practice what I preach, then I should be able to move forward, into the solution, without any effort at all. But by the deliberate lack of effort. By letting go.
By focusing on joy, and thinking as little as I possibly can about the problem I raise my vibration, and allow the solution to become my new reality
So here’s the plan: Shift my vibration into the higher level where the words are flowing again, easily and joyfully and fluently. Raise my vibration to that of the writer for whom there’s no such thing as writer’s block.
How am I going to do that?
- Stop thinking about writer’s block.
- Begin every single day with 15 minutes of meditation.
- Stop thinking about what to write next.
- Do the things that make me feel great throughout each day.
- Stop thinking about which storyline to choose.
- Allow inspiration that flows in, acknowledge it, jot it down, and move on.
- Write only when I passionately MUST write or die. That used to be my normal writing state. It’s really the best state, the only state, that state of creative fire, in which I ever want to be creating.
- Relax and let go of all struggle, all worry, all tension.
- Seek joy and pleasure in every moment of every day, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.
How's it going so far?
I’m on Day 3, so it’s early yet. But meditation is helping immensely.
I’ve meditated for a while, but never regularly or consistently. I will meditate every day from now on. Meditation is the fastest and most efficient way to open up the channels between me and my Higher Self, and that’s where my stories come from. And since meditation is actually stillness in body and mind, it’s more a cessation-of-action thing than an action thing. Which is good, because action is the opposite of what I want right now. I believe the healing lies in letting go, floating, living what I believe completely.
I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to make meditation a daily practice. It’s blissful all by itself, but it also leads to insights and understanding, input from my higher self in the form of ideas and inspirations that are able to come to me during and immediately after those breaks from the constant noise and chatter of my busy, busy mind.
- Today I felt inspired to write this blog post from outside in my back yard, and to share this journey with you, and to name it: A Hitchhiker’s Guide Through Writer’s Block. This is part 1. There will be more as I work through this. I’m mapping it for future travelers.
- I felt inspired to add a little raw honey to my diet. Odd, but okay.
- I am inspired to repaint my garden gnomes. I found some paints in the attic. So believe it or not, that’s what I’m going to do today. And I’m not going to think about tomorrow until tomorrow gets here.
Thanks for riding along. The journey’s a lot more fun with friends.