If you’ve never gone through a period of ‘writer’s block’ then consider yourself fortunate. I think of it as a cramp in the creative part of the brain that won’t let go, and it causes extreme emotional pain.
You sit and stare at the blank page and the ideas just don’t come. A thread of panic uncoils from somewhere deep inside you and it serves no purpose except to magnify the problem. The more you think, the less you produce and the greater the panic.
You tell yourself you’ve been writing too much over the past years, burning the candle at both ends on many occasions, and you’re mentally exhausted. You pay a visit to your local pharmacist and ask him to prescribe something for you that will give you a mental boost, something to revive the old brain cells, and you go home with your precious package believing that you’ve found a miracle cure. You give yourself a couple of weeks, telling yourself that the medication needs time to take root, but as the weeks go by you find that nothing has changed except that you’re so wide awake now your head is spinning. You can’t sleep at night your brain is so active, but the thoughts flit through it at the speed of a bullet ricocheting from wall to wall in a room the size of a pantry. It leaves you mentally breathless and frustrated.
There is another kind of writer’s block where you know what you want to say, but you can’t find the right words. It takes hours to write a paragraph because whatever you write just doesn’t sound right, so you do it over and over again, writing it this way and that way until you’re finally so exhausted you just don’t give a damn what it sounds like anymore. You put it away and decide to leave it for the next day, you’re exhausted, you need the break, but your mind is like a dog with a bone, it won’t let go. You get back to it the next day and it’s the same thing over again. It’s like tapping water out of a tank. You know it’s full, but when you open the tap the water comes out one reluctant drop at a time.
I’ve experienced both of the above and all I can say is that there’s no point in fretting. It only makes it worse. Let it go and do something else, something creative that doesn’t require you to use the written word. I’ve always enjoyed photography; it’s another form of expressing oneself.
There is something else as well. Don’t be too hard on yourself where your work is concerned. If you’re too critical you could become your own worst enemy. You might end up thinking your work is inferior when it is quite the reverse. The biggest stumbling block for any writer is the belief that their work isn’t good enough. It’s fine to be a perfectionist, but don’t let it destroy the creative juices.