Four Basic Questions for Sidestepping Writer’s Block
I’m surprised that people are requesting from me coaching around writer’s block. However, when I consider that over six years, I’ve written a couple of children’s stories, five books – with the sixth on the way, plus hundreds of blogs, I realize that I guess I know a bit about writing and something about sidestepping writer’s block.
Of course, as a coach, I have a few questions for you that I believe will assist in shifting from blocked to feeling the flow and going with it.
1.) Why Write?
Any creative endeavor wants to be respected as just that. If you are writing because you should or because you think that it will somehow contribute to any egoic pursuits, i.e. fame and fortune, well, sorry to say that this will most likely begin a longstanding relationship with writer’s block.
If, on the other hand, you experience a desire to write, a feeling of inspiration welling up inside that can’t be corked, then by all means, start to put on paper what is coming through. Understand that the springing forth of content will continue until it is complete, or until you interfere with preconceived assumptions and expectations of an anticipated outcome.
I write because I love to write and sometimes I can’t not write – a thought pops up that is so compelling, well, I have to stop doing what I’m doing and begin to write, like a dictation process; as if someone is speaking through me. I’m just the conduit and the transcriber.
2.) What is Your Intention in Writing?
Those of us who need content for our website think that we need to write the content. Pamphlets, Proposals, and other material required for our businesses has to get written and if we don’t do it, who will?
One value of writing your own content, at least some of it, is that you begin to truly own your intention and purpose in doing what you do. This a very valuable practice of embodying your work and expressing it from your heart.
Writing from your heart and from your body is going to produce for you an authentic presence. This is wonderful to experience and it is what ALL OF US are looking for in the people and services we hire.
Whatever I’m writing, I always keep in mind the intention(s) for this piece. For instance, for this blog, my intention is to engage you in a personal conversation with yourself, where you investigate what writing is for you, what’s your relationship with this art form? I want to encourage you to be curious enough to develop a relationship with yourself through writing, because my experience is that, this is what any and every relationship is about – learning more about you!
3.) When does Writer’s Block Show Up for You?
Most likely you will notice that writer’s block shows up when you are attempting to write from “I should write,” “I should write about this,” and “I should write now.”
So, I can hear a “Yes, but ….” Coming from you. I know these “Yes, buts,” intimately.
Many times we have deadlines to meet, which often contributes to writer’s block. And, there are ways to navigate these deadlines. More in another blog.
Let’s distinguish writer’s block from something else. What is the quality of the experience you are having that you are calling Writer’s Block. For me, writer’s block is an experience of resistance. Its not that I don’t want to write, its that there’s some part of me that is resisting. When I’m clear that I’m resisting, as opposed to I just don’t feel like writing, I can then do some investigating into that resistance.
This investigation into what you are resisting can be extremely fruitful for you and for your writing. It’s a fascinating process of exploring through questioning: What is creating this resistance? The best place to start this exploration is in your body, after all, that is where you are experiencing that sensation of resistance.
Sometimes, it can feel like you are digging in your heals, pushing up against a brick wall, or any number of sensations that are telling you that you need to take some time to see, hear, sense into this resistance. Ask yourself, what may show up, if you write and you express what is wanting to be expressed. Usually some degree of fear and angst are present that is attempting to warn you against some misperceived danger of vulnerability. We won’t know until we ask ourselves these questions. For me, this practice has shifted my resistance to an opening that I never expected.
When I’m feeling resistance, I know that, either what I’m writing about needs some time to incubate, so I need to not push, or that I’m going to have to go deeper into a more vulnerable, riskier expression of what I’m attempting to say, and I don’t want to, because its scary. In these moments, I know I’ll have to push into it, gently.
Something that is really helpful, is to listen to what wants to be written, feel into my body for the fullest expression of this work. And, if this is needing time to incubate, write about something else. Many writers and artists of all kinds, have many pieces going on at the same time. Every day, artists and writers ask: “Okay, who has something to say to me today?” And the relationship picks up where it left off. I have some writing projects that are over ten years old. I’m always checking in to see where they are, then let them continue to incubate, if that’s what they want.
4.) What Will You Practice in Service to Your Writing?
As in any relationship, we have to really look at what we are committed to, and to what degree we are willing to act in alignment to our commitments. Writing is a whole person engagement, not just fingers and thinking. Ask yourself what needs to shift in you, to allow a more committed practice. Then, commit to just a small incremental practice to support this shift to occur.
Think of writer’s blocks as blocks that occur in every kind of relationship. For me this reminds me that to deepen any of my relationships I have to be willing to bring myself into it in a different way. This makes me curious and courageous.
I’d love it if you’d share this with others who you think might find value in this blog. And, of course LIKE IT, if you do, so others can see what is important to you.
Who is Dr. Rosie? Dr. Rosie Kuhn is a preeminent thought leader in the field of Transformational Coaching and Leadership Development. She is available for Speaking Engagements, Coaching Sessions for Individuals, Organizations and Executives, as well as Trainings. Her books can be found at Amazon.com. And, be sure to check out many of her other blogs as www.theparadigmshifts.com.
A course in Self-Empowerment is available at http://www.dailyom.com
And, as always I’m here to empower you into your fullest expression of your essential self. A coaching session is just a phone call away. 360-376-4323.