• Maggie Shayne

A Hitchhiker’s Guide Through Writer’s Block

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

Note from the Universe

Maggie, imagine yourself on a warm summer evening before a calm, clear pond. The moon is full. The stars are shining. Whippoorwills are whippoor-willing.

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 Universe

Just float

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.

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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