This post coming to you from the depths of a nasty chest infection/cold and during the worst summer on record around here causing flooding on our street and in the area. Not the part 2 I’d originally intended, but thought it was worth getting this out as I am deep inside the territory of this subject.
As I’ve already said, I believe creative blockage is a complicated recipe affecting everyone differently with differing personal reasons behind every instance. I wanted to look at some of those individual reasons in more detail. Not because I want to try and give advice or expound any self-professed wisdom. No, this is as much for myself as anyone reading this (of whom I’m sure the audience is vast…). Apart from the pleasing irony of writing about writers block, it’s a good way to confess my sins of avoidance and procrastination. And at least I can feel like I’m doing this from a slightly more privileged position with a short story in progress to the tune of 3000 words(one I’m calling ‘Love as Deep as Bones’), and another already begun.
The easy excuse. Best example I can give is the situation I’m currently in. Several days laid out with a nasty virus. Coughing so hard I’ve pulled muscles in my back and chest etc… moan, complain… and there you go, what a handy excuse to not write. It’s hard to concentrate with a fever and you can’t settle. The real test is how you deal with that. I’ve lost count of the amount of stories that have run aground on the rocks of such an easy excuse. I mean, let’s face it, it’s not really the being ill that’s causing the problem, it’s my own brain.
All it amounts to is laziness. If the task ahead seems tough then, if (like me) you’re predisposed to taking the easy way out and avoiding the hard work, latching onto an excuse of being ill is the perfect justification. You can trick yourself into thinking that it’s okay. It’s not your fault. You can’t help being ill right?
This is Jay Lake – http://www.jlake.com/ No doubt familiar to anyone with a toe dipped into the world of SF. He has published several novels, hundreds of short stories and edited anthologies, winning various awards. He is intricately involved in SF and writing at all levels. He has also been battling cancer for the last four years. And writing about it, along with continuing his writing career to the fullest. You can read the personal blogging he’s done about cancer here – http://jlake.com/cancer_index.html
I use this example as a source of inspiration for the sort of punishment we can take yet carry on with the things we love. So much of it comes down to the individual and how they react to situations. I’m not saying you should be ashamed for not being strong and continuing in the face of adversity – we all have our own individual battles and subjective difficulties which can seem mountainous. No, it’s more that Jay Lake’s example can show you that is IS possible to carry on and if you feel compelled to write then nothing should really stop you.
Since I started this blog entry a few days have passed and I’m still recovering from this damned chest infection. And then we’ve had all this fun with flooding (which I’ll make a separate blog entry about, but certainly forms yet another easy excuse not to be writing).
The point is, life throws us all manner of adversities and the challenge is how we deal with them. It’s all too easy to fold in the face of personal difficulty, stop writing for a few days as a result and then call that ‘writer’s block’.
So that’s today’s thought-spaghetti unravelled. Now I have a story to finish writing.