Writer's Block Is A Symptom

Let’s face it, advice for writer’s block has been covered in depth and ad nauseam from all corners of the writing world. So instead of giving cliche (albeit useful) advice like “relax with some tea” or “take a break and return to your work later” I’d like to add what I believe is a more unique perspective to help writers facing this issue.

I believe that the common advice given to a writer with writer’s block usually addresses the symptom of the problem, and not the problem itself. A bandage can do well to stop the problem from festering further, but does little to address the underlying cause.

If you are having writer’s block and trying to figure out how to get passed it, don’t make the mistake of starting at the story at the half way point. Try to start at the beginning.

Make no mistake, writing is a creative process. You are creating something when writing. Writing is unique in that it is a much more ethereal form of creation, but it is creation in its finest form none the less. For this reason, finding a solution to a stumbling block can be a lot trickier than for other fields of creation.

Unlike martial arts or working out for example, applying hefty amounts of willpower will do little to help the writer. Why? Because willpower is a coarse energy, and although it can help within certain aspects of writing, it will do little to no good, or outright damage the finer art of creation through writing.

Instead, I would like to share a method that works for me upwards of about 90% of the time when approaching writer’s block. This is a concept that I have borrowed and applied from the science of Authentic Kabbalah, and it can do wonders for pinpointing and removing the pesky cancer of writer’s block from the root, instead of only providing a temporary bandage. It does however, require the writer to rewind a bit – before the dreaded writer’s block appeared.

There is a principle in Kabbalah that states:

He who receives, is separated from the Creator…

You see, when a person is in a constant state of reception (entertainment, vices, etc.), he begins to lose his creative abilities. If that same person is overly creative, he risks becoming manic, or risks not “stopping to smell the roses”, so to speak. The goal, for a writer, or anybody else seeking to create, is to find the sweet spot in between reception and bestowal.

Reception needs to be inspiration, and bestowal needs to be creation.

If a writer can accurately gauge and balance between these two forces, he can use whatever he receives toward his own creation.

If you are facing writer’s block, then I can most assuredly tell you that you have either received too much in the short time before the writer’s block arrived, or went into an overly manic state of creation.

If before writing, you received too much enjoyment of any kind, then you will be in an overly receptive state, and unable to get the gears going toward your creative pursuits.

In my days as a behavioral lecturer, I would run into something very perplexing. I would give, what I thought, was a great lecture on B.F. Skinner’s concepts on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. My audience would hang off of my every word, pay attention all the way through, nod in agreement often, and soak up every word.

Afterward though, when I would be finished, I would ask if there are any questions. What I was hoping for and picturing was a class full of raised hands, ready to engage me in the topics I just covered. But without fail, this wouldn’t be the case. Instead I would look and see glossy eyes, glazed faces, and hypnotic stares. As frustrating as it was, I was learning a very important lesson.

What was happening here was that I was inadvertently putting the class into a hypnotic daze. They were falling into a deeply receptive state. If you are assessing this as a good thing, you would be right. However, it was too much of a good thing. If my audience was falling into an overly receptive state, they were not likely to then return energy and participate in a lively manner afterward. What I started to do instead, was to make certain that I would make my presentations more interactive – taking questions, allowing for counter-arguments, and generally allowing myself to be more receptive in general.

Lo and behold, after my lecture was done, the entire class would erupt into activity, chatter, and inquisition. This time, everybody got to shine, instead of just me.

Now, back to our original topic of writer’s block…

The reason I outline the example above, is that a writer needs to be mindful within their daily life, not to fall too deeply into this same kind of receptive state. If you are reading other material, read it for the sake of inspiration for your own work. If you are watching a touching movie, watch it for the sake of uplifting you and not hypnotizing you. If you are listening to music, use it to motivate you, and be mindful that it isn’t putting you into a deeply receptive state instead. If you are observing nature and relaxing, make sure it is to calm your nerves and return you to your personal center, instead of lulling you to sleep.

The problem of writer’s block comes way before the symptoms it manifests, so find the middle line between receiving and creating throughout your day and week, and you can stop it from ever creeping up in the first place.

Receive inspiration, but only with the purpose of giving it to others.

– JC ❤ –

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