Writer's Block and What's Underneath - Getting to Honest

When I write, I want to write from a place that’s honest and true, otherwise why bother. 

For an eternity, which in reality was probably 4-5 months, whenever I sat down to write, I was met, not by the fresh breeze of honesty, but with the smelly sticky tar that I like to call the “you’re stupid” beast.    

Trying to write with the “you’re stupid” beast hanging over my shoulder was impossible.  

Hyper critical, I hated every single word I wrote.  My writing felt stupid and derivative.  It was awful and painful so I would give up and walk away.  

A couple of weeks ago I had to write something.  I promised it to someone else.  I had a deadline. 

I had to write.

So I sat down at the computer, put on my headphones and started writing.  

The “you’re stupid” beast was there waiting to whisper it’s bad breath insults into my ear. 

Every.  Single.  Word.  Painful.

Every sentence a horrible cliche filled train wreck.  The beast was winning, so I tried another tactic.  

I started writing about the pain instead.  I wrote and I wrote and then cried and cried and then wrote and cried until my aha moment came.  

It wasn’t the writing that was painful, it was my heart that hurt.  So much grief, so much sadness, the sadness of life.

Writing out that grief, my grief, was liberating.  

When I looked up from the screen I realized the “you’re stupid” beast was gone leaving only a sticky black paw print on my shoulder and the faint odor of halitosis behind.

I was back in the honest place with the fresh salt water breeze washing over me, each wave settling my feet deeper and deeper into the sand.  I looked out onto the horizon, open, a little scared but mostly just relieved to be there.

The next day when I sat down again to write, I wasn’t sure what would be there to meet me. 

My bravery of the night before was rewarded with the hoots and hollers of seagulls, my honest space was there waiting for me.

I understand that the “you’re stupid” beast was trying to do me a favour.  He was trying to protect me from the real source of my pain.

I also understand that in order to really be in my honest space, I had to actually be honest.  Honest with myself and honest with my feelings. 

My wise friend Sarah says that as our writing demons will always be bigger than our ability.  So as you improve, your demons grow.  There’s no winning, but hopeful there are moments of grace and flow.  Moments of truth on the page.

She said that the only cure is to write for the love of writing.

You can’t write for the end result, you can’t write for the product.  You can only write for the love of it.  

It’s kind of true of everything isn’t it…  In terms of living a life that’s fulfilling.

Imagine if every day I meditated, I did it for an audience, for a grade.  All I can say is that, a lot of the time, those would be some pretty terrible grades.  What matters is that I sit there.  I show up and meditate, sometimes terribly, every single day.  That’s it.  

That’s success. 

My friend Samantha posted this Julia Cameron quote on her facebook page the other day:

"In the recovery of a blocked artist, anger is a sign of health." 

- Julia Cameron

I love this, because it’s true.  You don’t have to be an artist or a writer to know the feeling of being blocked or stuck.  

So, the question is, what’s underneath the procrastination?  What’s underneath the clutter?  There’s the discomfort of the block, but what’s underneath that?  Maybe there’s an emotion you don’t want to feel or a belief that you have about the situation.  Your job is to be the archeologist, looking to see what’s underneath.

Fear, anger, grief or maybe when you look closer it's not scary at all, it's just you.

You might have a sticky beast of your own waiting for you, so just go under it until you get to the fresh breeze of what you really want.  

Is it easy?  Not always.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely!

I’m writing this for you my dear friend, but also for myself, so that when I smell the beast coming I can gather the bravery needed to feel what I'm really feeling and move through to the other side.

I’d love to hear from you.  Do you have a sticky beast that keeps you from what’s important and real?  How do you deal with it?  Let me know in the comments below.

Please share this with your friend who is having trouble writing, dating or taking the leap, they’ll thank you later.

Sending you so much love,

p.s. Are you feeling stuck?  Let's talk about it, just send me an email and we can set up a time to chat.

p.p.s. If you're reading this and you're not on my list, you should really get yourself on it!  Just pop on over here to get on!  All the cool kids are doing it!