Writer’s block or Writer’s Traffic Jam?

So this is the writer’s block I’ve heard about. Supposedly there are times when a writer cannot come up with anything to write about. He sits staring at the blinking cursor on his screen or blank sheet of paper in the typewriter if he’s a hipster, but he doesn’t have anything to write.

I’ve always thought writer’s block was BS. I used to be a minister and could never understand the preachers who complained they couldn’t come up with any sermon material for Sunday. How is that possible when you have the 783,137 words in Holy Scripture to choose from? My answer to these guys was always go to Genesis 1 “in the beginning God”, then ready,set,go. If you can’t educate, entertain and inspire a group of people with those 4 words, you need to find another line of work.

I feel the same way about writing. I don’t have writer’s block, I have writer’s traffic jam. I’ve got too much stuff to write about. Currently I’m writing my first fiction novel, an ebook called “Answers to Questions Men Ask”, a weekly newsletter and this daily practice session. I guess that’s what I’ve got all of these ideas swirling around brain and I’m having a hard time deciding which one to grab.

I’ve read this happens when you start a daily writing habit like 500 words a day. The folks who are proponents of this all say it kickstarts a creative ability you didn’t know you had.

It’s a lot like what happened when I was first learning to play guitar. The first lessons and weeks of practice were horrible. My finger tips were sore because I hadn’t developed callouses. I’d get cramps in my left hand from contorting it into previously unknown shapes to make chords. I was so clumsy I’d have to stop strumming when changing from a C chord to a G chord. Stop, start, miss a note, buzz a chord, listening to me practice should qualify my parents for sainthood.

But after a few weeks and lessons I had a burst of improvement. C to a G, no problem. Sore fingers? Nope. Fewer buzzed chords. I was beginning to “get it”, to understand how everything fit together. This understanding unleashed a torrent of creativity. I started to figure out a song or two on my own. I wanted to practice. Why? Because I was seeing progress and progress gets my motor fired up.

I think that’s what happening with writing. I’ve kept the 500 words a day streak going for several days in a row now AND I am seeing myself as a writer. I know it sounds like psycho-babble, but how you view yourself will make a major impact on how you progress.

Writing is at the same stage as guitar playing was back in the day. I’m starting to enjoy the practice and the mistakes. I don’t view the mistakes as anything other than what they are, a necessary part of the process.  

I never would have believed this before now but the daily writing habit is unlocking abilities I never knew I had. That’s a pretty cool thing to experience at 52.

Writer’s block or Writer’s Traffic Jam?

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