“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’” — Maya Angelou; American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist.
“Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history, writer’s block has been a documented problem.” Jesus Christ!– They make it look like is some dying of brain cells or some serious and irreversible condition! I have to say, when I read this in Wikipedia I couldn’t believe how much fuss they have made over it, and this is exactly why most people see writer’s block as a real condition, like having the flu, or a stomach virus, or, even worse, a serious breathing problem or some type of mental disease or even a cancer. But, remember, what you think you become, and what you think constantly about your mind creates as reality. Reality in your life is what your mind says it is, because as you think you start believing; hence, once you start believing something, the cellular make-up in your body produces the chemicals and the sensations your body and your mind design in you as what you call writer’s block.
As a really serious writer and deep thinker, this is a very important topic for me personally; because at some point in the beginning of my career I also thought (because of all the fuss they keep making about it) that I would suffer this from time to time, and I have walked out of my computer desk just because I thought writer’s block was something real and that I had to rest my brain for a few days to heal and be ready to welcome the muse again. But, in reality, I discovered that it is just a trick of the mind, like the fear we may experience in life or the anxiety we create just by thinking about the things that can go wrong in our life. Furthermore, it is the pride we feel in writing something superb and excellent from the first line, we want that feeling of knowing that the writing is great from the get-go, we want to know that we are great in the first stroke of the pen or key-stroke of the computer; hence, it is not a real condition of the mind but the fear and impatience of creating something marvelous in the first page. And that makes it all kept under our control, and we do not have to walk out of the desk whenever we feel this, and even lose days without writing.
So, it is worth noting that which is understood at this point, that the muse or essence/power of writing is not on waiting for something divine to present itself into our minds, but the key is to demand it passively because it is our right and gift as human beings, it is essentially creative energy in our consciousness (in the consciousness of the garbage man as in the consciousness of the professional writer; however, this creative energy is more pronounced in the writer due to the mental practice and the living we make out of using it every day).
Now, as professional and serious writers we have to push through the lethargy and boredom of watching the blank page, just like the marathon runner which does have to actually start running to achieve his goals of competing in the marathon and accustom his muscles to be great at it, even though he might not feel the energy to run that particular morning. It is all about starting, even though you might not have great thoughts to start writing, even though you might not have all the details of the character or the scenery in your mind’s eye, even thought you might not have a specific path for your story or character, even though you might not have an idea to create your character, and even though you might start writing uninteresting nonsense about your story, so I repeat, IT IS ALL IN STARTING SOMETHING, your job is to write, period, so write without excuses.
While you start your writing perhaps not very interestingly, it will develop itself, ideas will start coming to you because then your conscious energy will be attracted by your commitment and strength of will (the traits of the true leader); therefore, this energy or muse is yours for the taking, and if you do your part then it will follow your wishes to succeed in your writing venture. You are the master and leader, the muse is your servant and follower; however, most writers think that they are the servants and followers of this so-called muse, just waiting for it to strike and make its appearance, just hoping to allure this substance of creativity by not chasing it and by praying that it comes on its own.
The muse or creative energy does not come to you from the conscious mind, even though we use the conscious to mold ideas and structure story plots; it comes from the subconscious, which is where imagination comes from, and we have heard many great artists say that they have gotten great ideas and art forms from their dreams and from taking nature walks–i. e. being one with this divine energy which belongs to each of us, but we need to embrace it and claim it if we are to use it to our own advantage. But, as it is, the ego (the lazy, dual and all-confusing, monkey mind) lives in the conscious mind, and this ego we can experience it more when the mind tries to wait for a “stroke of genius” to come on its own, if you will; and so it is this ego-substance which tells us that we have writer’s block, and which tells us that we are not ready to write something creative and interesting, and which tells us that we cannot come up with anything to write about.
To make it shorter, we can beat the ego by “taking the bull by the horns,” as they say, by being our own leader and demanding the right to creativity; this is done, in my own experience, by brainstorming on a piece of paper about characters, scenes, story plots, emotional and psychological content, story messages and impressions you want to express, whatever you want to write related to your story. This is also done by writing whatever you have in mind at the moment, because, the more you stare to that blank page, the more confusion and fear of writing your ego will communicate to your mind and body. Besides, remember, the real story-telling is not in the clarity and strength of your first draft, but it is in the editing; thus, the editing makes the story attractive because you are clearer in your vision, but for this clarity to come and appear you need a first draft (it does not matter what it looks like).
So, keep writing without being a perfectionist, which kills the art; see, true art is not about perfection, but true art is about human vulnerability and emotional expression. This moves people, it connects people. Nobody on earth is perfect, so perfection does not connect people, it distances people and it distances you from your real art. Do not be afraid of writing and developing ideas. You are in command if you wish to be and start writing patiently but steadily. Rome was not built in a day.