As writers, it is completely natural, from time-to-time, to sit in front of the blank page and to feel the inability to pen a single thought. It happens to experienced writers as well as to novice writers and many times can be cured by participating in a mindless activity like taking a hot bath, cleaning the house or exercising.
However, if a writer endures days, weeks and even months unable to compose his/her ideas, then something more serious may be occurring in the mind of the writer that a simple endorphin-boosting activity will be incapable of curing.
Events such as moving from one location to another, changing employment and withstanding a demanding job can create enormous stress for anyone. Additionally, marriage, divorce, birth of a new baby, financial woes, aging parents, illness and death also cause tremendous tension in our lives. Some people are wired to cope better than others, but all of these factors, at some level, will most definitely contribute to one’s inability to write.
Writers block occurs within one’s mind, soul and spirit. It prevents writers from functioning normally in our day-to-day lives and it gradually cripples our ability to create until one day we come to the realization that we may need some sort of outside intervention.
Many people turn to psychotherapy and antidepressants as a means toward healing, but others reject conventional medicine and choose to forego it alone, navigating the bumpy road to recovery with the aid of perhaps, self-help books and support groups.
For people who fall into both of the above categories, I ask that you please indulge me while I outline one possible solution that could work for you as it has for countless people around the globe, including myself, to destroy that nasty writer’s block and to restore one’s creative health.
Julia Cameron is the author of the extremely popular book, The Artist’s Way. Her book is so popular that if you go to Amazon, you will notice many other resources which she has created based on this best seller. Her Amazon ranking is 519, at least it was at the time of the post, which is quite impressive.
What makes this book so popular? First, it is targeted toward all creative types, not just writers, so Julia’s audience is broad and wide. Next, it is organized in a way that resembles a twelve step program; an extremely successful blueprint for immeasurable numbers of people who battle with addictions. Ah, but now you are thinking, I don’t have an addiction. Perhaps not, but people with addictions are stuck, and cannot move forward. Writers who are plagued with writer’s block are no different.
Each of the twelve chapters represents one week and focuses on a particular theme. After reading a chapter there are a variety of exercises to complete which are designed to aid the healing process. Some of them are more challenging than others, and some are definitely silly, but if you are focused and serious about recovering your creative self, then you will do them, and you will notice self transformation from one week to the next, at least, that was my experience.
The most therapeutic exercise and by far the most important step toward recovery is what Julia calls Morning Pages. This is simply a daily journal, but what makes it so effective, is that you do it first thing in the morning before you do anything else. The idea is to write whatever comes to your mind. No matter how garbled it may seem, just get it out and onto the page! This exercise is meant to liberate your mind, soul and spirit of any negativity that you may be harboring, whether it is an argument from the previous day, anxiety about upcoming events or perhaps simply… stress. You let go of it which, in turn, activates the unblocking process.
Another extremely beneficial exercise is the Artist’s Date. This is a weekly date that you have with yourself doing something creative, something fun, something that will heal your inner child. Being creative is really allowing your inner child to emerge onto the page, onto the canvas, or onto a musical instrument. A damaged inner child is the root of your blockage, so nurturing him/her is paramount to recovery.
This may sound hokey to some of you, but I will assure you that if you are serious about curing your writer’s block, then you need to be open-minded and try The Artist’s Way. By the end of the twelfth week, your transformation will be obvious. Will you be completely recovered? That’s only for you to determine because not everyone begins with the same level of impairment nor do they progress at the same rate. Therefore, as with other twelve step programs, you may need to repeat it.
My experience with The Artist’s Way was really positive. I definitely felt the healing effects, as I was finally able to write without frustration. I felt happier, clearer and more deliberate with my thoughts and words. My creativity flows as it once did, like a running faucet, and that’s a great feeling!
The Artist’s Way has become so popular that The Artist’s Way groups have popped up all over the globe for people who prefer a support-group-type setting. However, whether you decide to join a group or not, it’s definitely worth your time to look into before you waste more time stuck in a writer’s block!