There is no such thing as writer’s block. There is an experience we call writer’s block, but if you were to pry open a blocked writer’s head you would not find an actual block between their writing brain and their imagination. Nothing can happen to you to cause a block. There is no writer’s block virus. Writer’s block, as Christopher Moore said, is us giving fear a name. To give fear a name is to make real what is unreal. Sometimes it seems as if the only thing real in our life is what we fear – the collapsing career, the loneliness, the illness, death. We live as if making our way through an endless rainstorm of fear where we can but duck from awning to awning for damp and temporary relief. What’s more, the writer spends his days giving what is not “real” a name. The writer’s entire livelihood is derived from a belief and trust in that which cannot be seen, tasted, touched, or even known until he chooses to share it.

But the writer is no different from anyone. The writer must learn to differentiate between the reality of love and the unreality of fear. Both speak to him through his imagination. Both call for his attention. The unreality of fear would ask him to invent dangers that do not yet exist so that he might protect himself from them. The reality of love invites him to return to himself, to the moment in which he is actually living, where fear has no grip, requiring as it does those illusions called the past and the future to flower in darkness.

When we enter that darkness as writers we call ourselves blocked. Now we cannot see, and if we cannot see, we cannot write unless we choose to write only blackness. When you find the light again there will be shadow, but only as a necessary reminder of the difference between things, between the fears you once invented, and the self that you forgot.

9781935961994-Perfect_CS.inddWrite Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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