Yesterday was the anniversary of my father’s death.
You might be wondering what that has to do with the title of the post…writer’s block.
After my father died I went through a writing drought. I was in the middle of writing a mystery when he was diagnosed with cancer. While I didn’t devote much time to it during his final months, I thought after his passing I’d just get back to my writing schedule.
Six months went by and I hadn’t added more than a few sentences to the story. I thought maybe I was associating this story with him and his illness so I switched to another one. Same thing happened and now a year or more had passed. I no longer felt like a writer. I felt like quitting. When people asked me what I did, I was suddenly ashamed to call myself a writer because I no longer wrote and it was a blatant lie.
While I did begin to write non-fiction and short stories, the road back to writing novels took close to a decade.
The date of his death always prompts me to relive those years and analyze what exactly happened to me. Was it writer’s block? Some say it’s a myth, some will tell you it’s oh so real.
Whether it’s fact or fiction, all writers face death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, loss of a job, illness, something that changes things and causes a shift in our lives. Adjustment to a new way of life takes energy and to write you need energy. It sounds strange because we do it sitting on our butts but it’s true.
So, does all this mean this author believes in writer’s block?
I know I was blocked as a writer but it wasn’t that I couldn’t come up with a plot any more or think about characters and their story. It was more of a soul draining energy. Instead of being writing focused, I thought about my own personal story and how things would never be the same now my dad was gone. Your head fills with those thoughts and it’s that space where I think creativity or the muse might also reside and the two can’t be neighbors or at least neighbors who can get along.
I’m sharing this with you not to debate whether writer’s block exists but if you’re going through a I can’t write phrase think about what’s happening in your life. Maybe even start a journal about what you’re feeling and what’s blocking the muse. Most of all, give yourself time to heal and recover.
One other thing January 24th reminds me is I’m glad I never gave up my dream of being a writer.