I have been struggling with writer’s block. Not for a week or a month but, in reality, for a couple years I have been shut down creatively. Who do you think you are? Why do you think anyone wants to read all of of this stuff about you? Those messages are burned into my brain and have been shutting me down anytime I step out of my comfort zone.
For some reason, I was able to shuck it when I first started this blog. For almost three years I allowed myself the freedom to be myself. I reveled in stripping away the bandages that hid my scars. I felt capable of sharing my own experiences in the hopes that it might help someone else on the same path. I ENJOYED writing. In my heart of hearts I knew that I had kindred spirits out there, and they responded and encouraged my transparency and joy.
But I lost my confidence. That old fear of being unloveable and of putting forth something that was inappropriate or shameful trickled back into my psyche. I find myself struggling to write while I edit and judge my thoughts. My efforts come out stilted and lifeless, and I dread the process. I keep trying to get through it but I seem to be stuck.
Last weekend I was listening to a podcast, and my ears perked up at the mention of a book called a Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankel. I immediately downloaded it and read the short story. Frankel’s experience in a concentration camp showed him how important it was to find a purpose in your suffering. At one point during his internment he envisioned himself speaking about the life lessons he learned in the concentration camp. It gave him hope and a purpose for enduring the worst of what the world had to offer.
I remembered what I had forgotten. While I worried about being accepted and loved by flawed earthly beings, my attention was misdirected. My life’s purpose is in my writing. It is important to find meaning in my suffering – and my joy – and to share it to help others. I was allowing other people to become my Higher Power. My Higher Power is the only acceptance I need to flourish.
I happened across an old blog of mine the other day on New Orleans. I had even created a video with photos. It was obvious I was totally engrossed in the creative play of writing and sharing not only my experience of that city but the feeling it unearthed in me. I was confident in my craft and took risks. The writing was lyrical and mystical. I could literally feel how joyful I was in the process. Where has that writer gone? I found myself longing for even a moment like that again. I have to find her. My very life depends on it.
Have you ever struggled with a creative block? What caused it? How did you break free?