I’ve always found the different ways that we scribblers describe our experiences with writer’s block very interesting. Also the different ways the seasoned writers suggest getting over it. Some suggestions are to work around your block, or force yourself to write through it, even if what you write is rubbish. Other advice is to write something completely different. We won’t mention those rather hurtful cries of, “Stop being such a wussy. Adorn yourself in adult underwear! Plumbers don’t get plumbers block!” All of these things can work with a bit of effort and confidence, but one bit of advice that you seldom see is to take a break from writing completely. As if a week away from writing anything will totally strip you of the ability to write at all. It is true that if you don’t do something for a good long while, you could get a little rusty, but you should never think that just because you haven’t written for a while that you can’t do it anymore. Talent is a real thing. It grows and blossoms with use, but I don’t believe for a second that it is something that can be lost.
No life is smooth sailing all the way, and sometimes you have no choice but to put a writing project aside. Then time goes by, and as it does, your confidence gets chipped away, and the thought of dusting off that manuscript and starting again can seem daunting, so we fearfully side-step it, and do something else. The task seems like one we’ll fail at, because we never finished it in the first place. Apart from our inner carers trying to stop us from writing at all to save us from the ridicule and laughter if we get it wrong by trying to distract us all the time with desperate urges to polish the silver or watch the entire Hobbit trilogy in a single sitting with popcorn and ice-cream, we sometimes have family and friends who aren’t overly supportive, and occasionally downright unkind with suggestions of quitting the lounging around on our bums at home all the time, and why don’t you get a proper job, kind of thing. In addition to all of these challenges life continues, with all of its challenges, hurts, and stumbles, so sometimes even sitting down to confront that silent blank screen seems impossibly hard.
This is where we come to the stories of those who did this very thing in the face of apparently insurmountable odds, that most of us will never have to face. Those inspirational scribbler guys who fought their demons within and without, and beat down that blank screen of emptiness. If you’re called to write, then do it. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of you for doing it. Nothing that ever happens to you can ever take away your talent, and neither can time. Do what you have to do. Your talent and callings aren’t given to everyone. Don’t ever let it fall away untried. Maybe a bit of soul searching, or focusing on your present. Write a crazy bit of flash fiction only for you – way too crazy to share with the world, to get those scribbler muscles oiled. Or better yet, take a deep breath and haul out that manuscript that you’ve left lying for whatever reason, with the names of the characters that you’ve forgotten. Gently blow the dust off, and settle down to read your words without any expectation, and pretty soon I’ll bet you’ll be banging away at that keyboard again, forgetting to take off your ‘jammies and mindlessly munching nuts. Never give up scribblers. Write the books inside you, because you really can if you want to, and your words will live forever in the hearts they were intended for.