Block Breaking

Posted Sat, 03/31/07

There have been several occasions during my life that I have suffered writer's block. This affliction is no joke, and for a writer it can be one of the most excruciating and tortuous experiences known to exist. I would rather go through a nasty divorce than suffer through a stretch of creative limbo. The worst part of the problem is that it's glaringly obvious, but there is no quick-fix to be had - at least not in my case.

The last time I went through the block was just before I finished Celtic Remnants two years ago. I was perhaps three chapters from the end of the book, and I suddenly lurched to agonizing halt. There is no avenue of inspiration, no fall back; just an empty black hole of filled with absolute zilch. There is nothing anyone can say, whether it's constructive prep-talk, cajolement or derision, that moves the almighty block. I learned the hard way that the break has to come from within, just like anything else. It cannot be forced, but has to arrive of its own volition.

This blockage also extends itself to reading. I have a nice selection of new books to dig into, but I have no interest in any of them. I have been a life-long reader, so this is horrific for me.

It is during writer's block that I fully understand why some authors turn to substance abuse, liquid or otherwise, to temporarily eliminate the anguish. Luckily I am not among them: I do not want to trade one miserably hopeless situation for another.

There are some writers who never suffer the block, or who do not understand it. I take my hat off to them. Those unaffected authors are very fortunate.

This was not meant to be a lengthy soliloquy about my personal aggravations, nor is it a plea for sympathy. I am dealing with the block as best as I can, and actually at this point I can say I am making headway into some sort of "breakage."

I have pre-ordered Alison Weir's first fiction novel Innocent Traitor (about Lady Jane Grey), and I am looking forward to really reading it. Alison Weir is one of my favorite authors. I am so glad to see she finally has a web site with the latest news and her upcoming works.

As for the writing – I have managed to peck away at a few projects here and there over the duration of the block, and the fact that I made blog entries today is a good sign. I have the house to myself tonight, so I intend to turn off all televisions and concentrate of my work. It's still there waiting for me, glaring and impatient just as I left it a few months ago.

Irish Eyes: Writing

Tags: Books & Reading; Celtic Remnants; Writing