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I Think, Therefore I am Not Blocked…

July 29, 2010

Ok. Now let me see… it’s, what? 22:30? (…so the little digital time piece in the corner of my Windows 7 task-bar tells me). That is… precisely… one hour and thirty minutes within which I have this target to complete a post on writer’s block!

Any ideas, anyone? ANYONE! Please… PLEASE! ANYONE! PLEASE…

I look to my fellow authors hereabouts…

C.J. – our darling of no little acerbic wit…  (no digs! Respect!) – has never experienced writer’s block and is not so sure it exists… Mmmm… Can I build on this?

I say, Descartes?

Philosophically speaking, and maybe I can blame Descartes here (at least I shall try to), if I can think, therefore I exist. If one can talk of the concept of writer’s block then surely, at least as a concept, it must also exist? (Ooops! I can feel the knife entering between 5th and 6th ribs, angled sharply upwards, twisting… (Ouch! Thriller writers… don’t you just love their attention to detail… sometimes!)

C.J., may you forever hold your beliefs… they are part of what makes you who you are! As I say… Respect!

And what of Greg? Me thinks he knocketh a nail on the proverbial head… (And don’t apologise, Greg… late night stints on writing to deadlines have become a part of my own life and MO!) An interesting concept, too… the blah! But forgive me, here, for I knoweth not what a blah is, and cannot, therefore, dispute it! Q.E.D. (Funny how philosophy works!)

But clearly blahs do appear to work… even if going to clubs and spending three hours nursing half a bottle of Smirnoff Ice gets “real old real fast”. Truth is, Greg, you do write, your blog posts are great and people enjoy reading your words. Your views on time management may not make a seminar at Harvard, but (again) they make you who you are! Respect!

Einstein... on writer's block?

Anastasia? Of mythical proportions! Such passion grounded in reality… harnessed, how could such passion fail to break through even the cloudiest of days? But, as Einstein (I did science at school, too!) would no doubt suggest, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; for every force, a counterpart. The very tone of Anatasia’s frank analysis is suggestive of personal beliefs that are borne of opposites; that could not exist without them. The words say as much. Indeed, such a strong a belief that there is no such thing as writer’s block suggests that there is… (oops, sorry, Anastasia – I feel your sudden urge to aim a slap!)

Beliefs are what we use, create, or otherwise rely upon to make sense of the world we live in. However, no one person can quite see the world in the same way as another person. But, in knowing this, lies the greatest of freedoms… that we are entitled to our own perspective, as much the other is entitled to theirs! So, again, I say: Respect, Anastasia! (And kudos to you for the delivery of your words about your beliefs with your passion.)

Block? ...Pah! A temporary lack of direction!

Writer’s block! It must exist! Mustn’t it? Surely? If it didn’t exist, why have I taken this path? What forced me on this discursive ramble through the week’s collection of Wicked Writers musings?

I can’t say I was looking for an excuse not to write… I did not seek a label to explain my situation: not knowing where to start – and it hasn’t been the first time in this space, dear reader(s), I can assure you.

I had a purpose, a goal; but I lacked a direction.

Let me, for a moment, court controversy here on the Wicked Writers blog! Let me suggest that there is such a thing as Writer’s Block… (though I’ve never knowingly experienced it, I must admit)

How do we go about getting over it? As the topic for the week suggests… Writer’s Block – how do you cope? Getting past this issue can be crippling for some writers and a non-issue for others. For this, I am going to assume that there may be some writers there to whom overcoming a mental block can be an issue, however imaginary, temporary or constraining that blockage might be.

How would I “get over it”?

I am a writer! I want to write… but I know not what to write… But, as an artist first, I am also an explorer… What drives me to explore is some idea that there is something out there to be seen, to be discovered, to be described. But such “somethings” can only ever (generally) be a result of something else. Such “somethings” are built on the ideas of others who have gone before. In truth, consider how many ideas are truly original? How many plots are there, from which countless stories have been built.

Damn wood... where is it?

Sometimes, just possibly, the cause of a mental blockage could simply be a failure (or refusal) to accept that there is no big, new, virgin idea! A struggle to find the new, when the new does not exist. When an explorer looses his or her way, the action to take is to retrace ones steps to a place of familiarity. And then, build slowly, incrementally, upon that familiarity through mapping the terrain ahead.

So, when I was unsure of where I was going, (OK, let’s call it a block then) I took a look around and grounded myself in what was familiar to me. I built on the work of others who had gone before, adding my own interpretation and creating my own path through the subject!

Is it a response to writers block? It could be for someone out there; and if it is, then I’ll sleep easy tonight… noticing it is now, precisely 12 midnight! And I have finished my draft post at around 960 words!

Bon chance, mon braves! 🙂

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2010 9:12 am

    You never fail to entertain, teach, and explore in your posts. Well done. I agree that sometimes building on other ideas and allowing it flow in a direction is a great way to create. Interpretation of art, books, even facts, is the conversation of life, is it not?

    • July 29, 2010 6:15 pm

      Thanks, CJ. You are so right – the word is “sometimes”! And, of course, “interpretation” is the other good word! And without your own good words, and those of Greg and Anastasia, where would my post have been?

  2. July 29, 2010 11:38 am

    I, too, agree with building on others’ ideas. The Associated Press calls it plagiarism, but what do they know?

    Great blog this week. Even C.J. can’t feel poked or prodded.

    • July 29, 2010 6:23 pm

      Hi Greg, Can it be plagiarism if you juggle the words around a bit? No one can copyright an idea – ideas are meant to be developed.

      (As long as credit is given… and here I hope you will forgive me not getting round to commenting on your own posts this week… I was too busy plagiarising… ) 🙂

  3. July 29, 2010 11:44 am

    Great post David! It is good to go back to some familitary and build from that again. Writing is full of dark and twisted paths and it’s great to be able to come back to reality for a break, to ground oneself again. Wonderful insites!

    • July 29, 2010 6:26 pm

      Thanks, Anastasia, we all can ground ourselves in each other (occassionally)… we are social animals and it helps the world go around!

      But it is also good for us to explore the dark, twisted paths… where would we be if we didn’t escape the constriants of our social existence (occasssionally) 🙂

  4. george-allwynn permalink*
    July 30, 2010 12:08 am

    …I like dark twisted paths. Familiar pathways in my scattered mind… I just wish my journeys were as insightful as yours…

    nice job – totally enjoyed the read. Food for thought, going through the whole week.

    • July 30, 2010 2:21 pm

      Hi George, me thinks that you undervalue your own insights – however, if your pathways are truly familiar, try walking them backwards… then with one eye shut… then the other! Try hoping up and down, one leg, then the other – infact anything to break the familiarity – then you will find new insights! 🙂

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