The Way Out


I work with a lot of clients whose primary problem is getting themselves to sit down and actually write. I do all I can to help them with this, but in the end I can’t be there in their workroom massaging their shoulders and whispering encouragement in their ears. In fact, instead of a friendly teacher, there are often ghosts waiting near the desk, ghosts of past failures, ghosts of their parents and teachers, ghosts of their own fears about themselves.

Perhaps no ghost is more frightening than the one who haunts those first dark, cold, uneventful moments when we sit down to write and feel nothing, nothing, nothing whatsoever in us that wants to be said. Maybe this is what Hell is like: the bottom of the creativity well, a dry hole with no way out. It’s such a scary place, it sometimes seems wiser to avoid the desk completely. Maybe something will come to you right away, but then again, maybe it won’t. Maybe you’ll be down at the bottom of that well, having finally learned the awful truth about yourself and maybe the whole of life.

I have, of course, been down as far as that well drops many times. I never avoided the desk, however. No matter how hopeless and dark things got, I had just enough memory of when the ideas were coming, when I felt as if I was being carried forward by a story, when I felt as if there was something in that room with me – not a ghost, but a friend who’s come to play. The memory was just real enough that I wasn’t sure about this Hell, this Wasteland of No Return I’d stumbled into. I know it looked real, that it certainly felt real, but I’d been fooled by things before.

It’s the only way out of Hell, you know. You have to believe more in what you want than what you don’t, believe more in love than fear. You make that choice whenever you show up to the desk. Ideas will always come to people the same as bees will come to flowers. A ghost, after all, is just another idea – the idea that the past controls the present, that failure is permanent, that for some random reason you weren’t meant to succeed. Why Hell itself was an idea dreamed by people long ago who worried that it was possible to live in a world without love.

If you like the ideas and perspectives expressed here, feel free to contact me about individual coaching and group workshops.