And so, what is writer's block? Is it when ideas and words face blockage in the writer's mind, or is life racing so fast that one doesn't have the time to sit with a pen. The paper and pen may seem outdated in a time of computers and other gadgets; the brain and the mind refuse to coordinate when writer's block happens. So, writer's block could be anything and everything that stops you from writing.
It happened to me (for sure I am not alone) during the past month when I could hardly sit and breathe properly, let alone write to fill my heart's pleasure fountains. Travel, work, health, and home: all were happening at super top speed, and then, finally, when I could grasp my time and space to sit down, I decided to write something. "But what and how?" The writing habit seemed to have taken a vacation from my wintry New England home to Florida beaches or somewhere warm and sunny. I asked my writer friend, Rachel, "Hey, did you ever have this writer's block? I have time to write now, but ideas are not coming."
I was more perplexed, "Well, my body and mind want to write. But I am stuck."
Rachel had more suggestions, "Don't sit to write because you used to write, not the habit. Watch movies and socialize, and when an idea hits, then go for it."
As I struggled with my writing, different definitions came up. While Wikipedia worded it as "A writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author cannot produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown." Another site mentioned that it is usually a temporary condition. The second piece of information made me relax, and I realised that the thought of getting stuck on writing forever was panicking me and freezing my brain, enabling me to work at all.
We act or stop doing things out of fear in the head without realising it. We do something out of habit in our ordinary days without a second thought to how life would be without them. What if one daily practice stopped one day? On a fine morning, if the body felt heavy and making the tea was impossible, a streak of fear would creep in; what if this was a permanent health problem? We are hypochondriacs to a greater or lesser degree when it comes to our bodies. We fear disease as we should, and the shadow of death is always a darker shadow behind the one we create by blocking the path of light.
Fear is a part of our being; we think twice before we tread into unknown territory. In the early years of life, the childlike wonder of the world around us may keep us far from trying something new, or we might ask for help. The other being doesn't know what fear is and marches headlong to satisfy curiosity. In adult life, fear of new places, heights, and other fears can rise and have us step back on steps.
The writer's block that had me coil back to the fear of never writing back lived in my head for a while. When I let go of my anxieties and decided to go ahead and write about it, the fear ceased to bother me. It is no wonder that we need to be childlike to live fearlessly. We continue to learn to unwind our anxieties and stress in the ways we can. Everyone has individual ways to tackle personal issues and while one writer sleeps on writer’s block, the other may drum the problems till the words seep onto the pages.
Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA