“Writer’s Block.” We all experience it at one time or another. Sometimes, it feels like a drought that might never end. Everyone has a special term for it, as if by acknowledging it and naming it, we think it might just empathize with us and let up. Jack Myers has a perfect analogy for it: “A bouquet of cut flowers might still truly be flowers, but they are cut off from their source, what nourished them, and any possibility of growth.”
Do we just allow the flowers to sit in the vase? Do we try arranging them in different ways, change the water, trim the soggy stems? In what ways do you deal with your “Writer’s Block”? Do you have a certain name for it? Do you just let the visitor in until it decides to leave and ignore him/her all the while?
Jack ends the chapter suggesting an exercise for when you are feeling at odds with your muse:
1. Think of a special object in your life and write down all the detail you can about it. “See stereoscopically.”
2. Fuse your feelings into the object you’ve chosen, writing about its meaning to you and the feelings it evokes.
3. Associate the object with something it reminds you of or something that comes to mind. Try using a trope as you expand your writing.
4. Affirm your belief in this object and write about how you may or may not live without it going forward.
If you’re like me when battling “the block,” you will probably scratch and scribble all over what you’ve written at some point and want to wad your paper into a ball and bang it into your forehead. A piece of advice: don’t scribble and scratch so much that you can no longer make out what you’ve written, and definitely resist making a shape out of it. Calmly place it in your “To Tackle When I’m in a Better Mood” pile and walk away. The poem will find you again.
Happy writing, Andrea