The WCOID – Day 3, On Writer’s Block

nmbr 03The Writing Challenge of Indeterminate Duration – Day 3
What does writer’s block feel like?

A better topic for me at this point might have been what does it feel like to write about writer’s block when you have writer’s block? Maybe I’ll refer to this experience tomorrow and write about one of my favorite things: irony.

I supposed to understand how it feels, a person would need to know how it doesn’t feel. Someone who doesn’t write, or doesn’t enjoy writing, may be under the impression that they know how it feels because to them writing is, at best, a chore. But the reason writers complain about being blocked is because we do enjoy writing, and might even be good at it. So being unable to do it is both frustrating and a little scary … what if I can never write again? It would be comparable to a golfer who goes through a period of playing poorly, a chef who doesn’t feel motivated to cook or an alcoholic who loses the need to drink.

Hah! Just kidding on that last one! If you’re an alcoholic who wakes up one day and doesn’t feel the need to drink, you’re not an alcoholic. Or you’re a dead alcoholic.

There’s a term mostly used in sports of being “in the zone;” but it can really be applied to almost anything. When you’re driving and hit every green light, easily make every lane change and rarely have to tap the brakes, or you’re cutting the grass and don’t sheer off any sprinkler heads and achieve that baseball field pattern in the lawn. Being in the zone is a lack of friction and the absence of barriers; it’s when everything you do is right, yet you scarcely have to think about what you’re doing. It’s not being on auto-pilot because it isn’t that you’re not in control. It’s the opposite of that – – – where you’re in such complete and perfect control that you can do no wrong.

And if you know that feeling, then you’re probably also aware of what being out of the zone feels like. You’re clumsy, you’re making mistakes on simple things and your brain doesn’t seen to be processing information at its normal speed.Writer’s block feels like that to me. When I’m in the zone, I feel like my brain is firing on however many cylinders would illustrate that I’m operating at maximum efficiency. The words flow so easily that, as a horrible typist, I can’t always keep up with them. In fact, when I’m really feeling it, I tend to put the initial draft down in longhand because I can write faster than I can type.

My writer’s block usually shows as the inability to think of anything to write, or being unable to flesh-out any ideas that I do have. When I’m in the writing zone, something as simple as going to the supermarket can trigger multiple ideas. But when I fall out of the zone, it’s as though that part of my brain – – the happy, creative part – -has gone into hibernation.

I’m currently in the midst of some blockage, so I’m not surprised that this one page post has taken me all day to write. Since I generally can’t write when I’m like this, I’m already learning things from the few posts I’ve written. For instance, when I’m not experiencing writer’s block, I’m typically pretty good at ending a post. But when I’m blocked, it’s not unusual to just end something like this.


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