What To Do When It’s Just Not Coming
By Jacob Krueger
It’s the most coveted time for writers. The rare moment when the words are just flowing, when writing feels effortless and the ideas are coming faster than you can write them down. During times like these, it’s easy to think of yourself as a writer. But how are you supposed to think of yourself as a real writer at times when the words are NOT flowing? What do you do when you find yourself staring at a blank page, wondering if you even have anything worthwhile to say. The way you respond to these difficult writing times will define your life as a writer, and the happiness and longevity of your writing career.
The times when things are not flowing are as natural a part of the writing process as the times when things are. But because these times can be so trying emotionally, we often experience them as writing failures. One perceived failure builds upon another, and before long we start to fear writing. Under these circumstances, even the thought of sitting down to write can become painful.
This is often the real source of writers block, a long chain of negative emotions, linked together until you feel completely paralyzed in your writing. In order to break through these kinds of blocks, you need to break the chain of fear and pain associated with writing. One of the ways I do this with many of my coaching clients is through hypnosis. The experiences of your creative life do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they are interwoven with other elements of your life, and the millions of other emotions you experience every day.
In fact, you can imagine each event in your life like a single domino in the most complex arrangement of dominoes in the world. Within this arrangement, your creative experiences are mixed in and interwoven with the emotions of your entire personal history, spanning from your childhood all the way into the future. Family conflicts, romantic relationships, dreams, successes, failures, old traumas and new hopes, everything is included, and more importantly, interconnected.
It’s no wonder then that positive or negative feelings you associate with writing can profoundly affect the way you feel in every other aspect of your life. After a successful writing day, you feel fully charged, confident, hopeful, ready to take on the world. But on days when it’s just not coming, negative emotions can spill over from your writing life into the rest of your experience, leading to feelings of grief, fear, hopelessness, or even depression.
The result is often a vicious cycle. The more the negative feelings pile up, the more blocked you become, and the more you beat yourself up emotionally. The negative feelings associated with this self abuse get attached to the ones that got you blocked in the first place. And instead of releasing your blocks, you end up reinforcing them.
The first step you can take toward freeing yourself from writers block is recognizing the cycle of self abuse when it’s happening, and forcing yourself to put a stop to it. But for some writers, this may not be enough.
The deepest creative blocks reside at the unconscious level, so to deal with them effectively, you may need some unconscious help. Imagine if rather than trying to consciously wrestle with each and every emotional “domino” in your chain one by one, you could use the power of your unconscious mind to simply track your creative block directly to its source. Push down that first “domino”, release that emotion and everything else on the chain falls into place. Just like an arrangement of dominoes.