Writing Out The Block - Dave Migman

I used to wonder how anyone could get writer’s block, and I never engaged with literature about the topic for fear I might, somehow, catch it — as though by association a psychological trip-switch would be set. And let’s face it, what else is the block but a mind-trap? 

In my own experience, blockage began with a combination of events, but a seemingly endless string of rejections reinforced my self-doubt. At the time I was living self-contained, and isolated, which should have been an ideal creative space — there were ideas, but no flow, no follow through. So I dwelled on it, made this ‘lack’ and sense of hopelessness into something, lent it solidity and weight, credence. Stagnancy was self-enforced: that I had the block became the domiant narrative. 

Every writer knows that narratives can be altered. I’m certain many of authors have completely stripped down a text, pared it to its essence and restructured a central plot, or perspective. First, I had to recognise that my narrative needed steered onto more creative tracks. I had to learn to let go: in my writing practice, and leave behind projects that weren’t going anywhere. 

The act of writing through the block, actually sitting down and getting back into the flow, can take time. There’s a lot of silt to trawl through, and you need to be patient and allow it happen, because it will, things will take form. To push through the block I needed to allow myself to write what I wanted, not for some percieved target audience. It was an invaluable exercise. Messing with format, tense, voices, it didn’t matter, and neither did the end result — only the process was important. Once I’d written a couple of thousand words without noticing time, plots, subplots, voices were rising — that’s when I felt I was back on track. 

I don’t believe that there’s a single, universal strategy for writer’s block, but this worked for me. Other methods could involve travel, research; anything that will spark the mind into action. Once you recognise your own habits, good or bad, make a note of them, this is your formula for punching through the wall. 

 

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