Friday, May 07, 2021
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Blog Creativity

The Weight of the Unfinished Draft and Stopping Writer’s Block

Stopping writer’s block is the goal of ever writer, but is it a lost cause?

Writer’s block is like a paper weight. An unfinished draft sits dutifully on top of the entire stack of our ideas. Not letting a single idea escape the pile.

I write quite a lot about writer’s block, for someone who insists it isn’t real. I think that’s partially my own way of stopping writer’s block when I experience it. The insistence that it “isn’t real” might be a bit extreme, sure. But I’ll continue to repeat that we just simply misunderstand it.

My current creative “drought” has seen me go about a week without writing anything new – not even a journal entry. This is odd for me since I reclaimed creativity in my life. I could have easily pegged this anomaly as the resurgence of my old foe, writer’s block.

What I once would have perceived as writer’s block, now has a wide range of interpretations. It could be a rising sense that I have to move on from the piece, or to take a break from the piece. Or, the squealing break’s of writer’s block could be telling me to dig in and dig deeper. I could be missing the treasure beneath my feet. More often than not, it’s all three of those explanations.

“The squealing break’s of writer’s block could be telling me to dig in and dig deeper. I could be missing the treasure beneath my feet.”

This time around, I think it was a rising sense to move on from the topic. It didn’t fit that well with the wave of topics I’ve been writing about, and more importantly, I didn’t understand it well enough. That realization is my mind telling me to dig in and dig deeper. Which means taking a break from the piece, but not the topic.

Like many things we believe, we are led creatively astray early in life due to messaging we receive. We are told that this creative apprehension is simply “writer’s block” or “artist’s block” and we craft a debilitating state of being around this label. Without looking into any deeper than surface level labels, we cast every sense of apprehension under the same light.

This post is a vow to myself, as much as it is a Hail Mary to push the play forward. In writing this, I am vowing to continue challenging myself, and challenging these surface level labels that create our understanding.

I have been listening to Adam Grant’s book, “Think Again” on Audible (This is an affiliate link, and I really do recommend this book.) and it’s headfirst approach to challenging your beliefs led me right back to challenging my creative process, and revisiting my stance on writer’s block. It helped me see the value of apprehension, and granted me the power to look further into it when I feel it.

I’m throwing this Hail Mary down the field as far as I can, over the heads of that article that won’t write itself, and into the 1st down of another topic. As far as the failed play that is the article in question, we’ll run that back in practice and come with a better prepared execution when the time is right.

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