A Message From “The Family”: On Writer’s Block

typewriterMister Rand frequently experiences what he describes as “writer’s block,” an inability to summon up enthusiasm, words, images, or ideas for writing projects he has chosen to pursue. These difficulties plague many writers and do not issue from a single cause. Some of the causes of writer’s block include:

(1) Unwillingness to verbalize a distressing scene or idea, owing to the unpleasant feelings experiencing that scene or idea may bring up in one. This is more common than one might imagine. Writers, particularly fiction writers, frequently inhabit a mental world far more real to them than the outer, physical matrix in which they find their bodies lodged. As a result, they empathize with the sufferings of their thought-forms–their “characters”–as though these characters were flesh and blood creatures capable of suffering as physical entities are. The solution for this kind of writer’s block? As we see it, time. In time, the writer becomes so frustrated that he either abandons the project entirely, puts it on a shelf so to speak, or waits, staring at it, until it either comes back to life or dissipates.

(2) Devoting one’s attention to a character, plot, or idea whose time has not yet arrived.

Sometimes a writer’s unconscious self knows better than the conscious writer when is the proper time to continue a project that appears stalled. This is because creativity takes place in most cases on the unconscious level, and is “channeled”–brought into physical reality–by the author maintaining a daily routine of sharpening pencils, getting coffee, tidying the office, doodling, staring at the computer screen, and so forth. A character, plot, or idea’s time may not have arrived because the author may not have experienced or studied certain experiences or subjects that are crucial to the author’s spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical understanding of the character, plot, or idea in question…

(3) Pursuing a plot development because one feels one ought to rather than because one feels it is right for the piece. Sometimes a writer, having immersed him- or herself in trade magazines and best-seller lists, develops a nagging suspicion that the plot with which he or she is laboring will not hold readers’ interests sufficiently to earn the writer multiple sales, accolades, etc. And so the writer makes changes to the plot (or characters, or writing style) in order to accomodate the imagined audience. But the writer’s muse—his or her creative unconscious—does not approve of this change. It violates the original, compelling vision for the piece. And so the unconscious blocks forward progress in this arena.

(4) Overindulgence in sugary or carbohydrate-laden treats, lack of exercise, lack of social life, lack of self-confidence, lack of friends, lack of a life. Sometimes the writer’s block emerges from a general disgust with one’s state of being, or from physical factors seemingly unrelated to the creative process. High consumption of carbohydrates can damage the brain’s capacity to focus on the creative process. So can insufficient exercise, which inhibits blood flow to the brain. In addition, overemphasis on solitude or self-importance (“I Am A Writer”) or the self-importance of solitude (“I Need To Be By Myself For A While So I Can Focus Upon This Crucial Scene”) can make the unconscious say, “Give me a break, Mister Rand,” so that it shuts down in disgust. [This is a joke.] Also, lack of social stimulation can cause a similar rebellion in the unconscious mind.

(5) Right time, right place, right character, right plot, wrong stylistic approach or genre. Sometimes the writer’s block reflects the writer’s unconscious suspicion that his piece should be fictionalized memoir rather than, say, science fiction; or it reflects the writer’s need to abandon James Joycean prose filigrees in favor of a more standard grammatical and syntactical approach.

(6) Right idea, wrong writer. And occasionally, although the idea has merit, it is simply an idea floating around in Thought Reality seeking someone to express it in spacetime. And Mister Rand is not the correct choice for this. •

— Channeled July 2nd and 3rd, 2015

One thought on “A Message From “The Family”: On Writer’s Block

  1. Kathleen says:

    Thank you Rand. I thought this was very good and helpful. I hope it was helpful to you too. 🙂

    Like

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