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Come Out and Play

August 28, 2012

Come Out and Play

Writer’s block, in my experience, is really nothing more than a failure to engage with your work. Not making an effort to put something down on paper. To show up for work. A giving-in to fear and insecurity and feelings of worthlessness and the temptations of distraction.

Since I’m as human as anyone and a depressive to boot, I’ve struggled mightily the past few years with this stuff. I’m constantly seeking to engage and re-engage with my work. Sometimes it’s a chore (albeit a worthwhile one).

So the other day, I came across this folder full of old writing and artwork from high school and college. A lot of them were poems like this one.

It’s young and undisciplined (as Dr. Fincke is kindly pointing out in the margins), full of things I probably wouldn’t do now. But reading it, I can also recall how much FUN I had playing with language and finding new ways to describe things. Poetry, when I was 19, was my time to PLAY with words.

So now, when things begin to get gummed up, I’ve started scribbling lines like this, seeking linkages and images I might not have if I’d only just sat there pondering my sticking point. And it really works. By keeping busy and re-engaging my sense of play I’ve been managing to unstick myself in short order.

What do you think? What do you do to unstick yourself?

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3 Comments
  1. Reconnect with your work or read about another author’s success. That’s a great motivator!

  2. Whenever I reach an impasse with my work, whether it’s a creative piece or a legal brief, I know I have to take a break from it and exercise a different part of my brain. For me, that means playing with my kids, taking a walk, playing on the internet/blogging, or moving onto the next project. I’m a multi-tasker, so it’s easy for me to move onto something else. It’s wonderful that you have your early creative works. I wish I had kept mine!

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