Clearing the Block

By Tiffany Antone

Writer’s Block… They should call it Emotionally Disadvantaged Creative’s Block.

There are countless essays and processes devoted to understanding and conquering the writer’s enemy, mostly involving baby steps of free-writing, calendering oneself, forcing it out like a stubborn turd, etc.  But I always thought these things were a crock – the reason we stop writing is because we’re harboring some deep fear or resentment – not because we’ve run out of ideas – and no amount of straining ourselves over the proverbial toilet is going to make them come out if the tunnel is plugged by baggage!

(I know, that’s a disgusting analogy)

But then, I haven’t written anything new in months (besides blog posts) so I had to ask myself, might I be stricken with a fog of literary stasis?  I mean, I’ve been really busy; I’ve been teaching and producing and directing and dating…

I have been doing any number of things besides writing…

(this is when my inner guru/muse/whatever it is within that is plugged more keenly into the source of things, lets me know that I am indeed hiding in the fog…)


(and then I have to ask myself why….)

Double Sigh

But I think the answer is this:  I’m not writing because I’m afraid that whatever I’m working on still won’t be good enough to produce, and quite frankly I’m a little more than tired of all the back-patting and head-nodding and open readings leading to naught…

My demon it seems, the first in my history with the pen, is fear, chased by an ugly little thing called anger.

And it’s time I process it all, chew it up, and spit it out, and stop giving myself excuses.  I’ve collected seeds of anxiety and doubt and now they’ve spouted into a full blown emotional forest that needs cutting down.

Perhaps I can turn all that lumber into paper?

In any case, I spent an hour typing out the intro to a new play yesterday – an experiment.  I chose the most stereotypical of scenarios and did my best to turn away from the grain at each blessed turn, and the damn thing had me grinning!  It had me dreaming of calling in sick to work for a week so I could curl around my muse and just play…

It had me slaying demons.

Which is the heart of the heart of this thing called “Writer’s Block” – it’s US, not the muse, that has run amok, therefore it is US, not the muse, that needs help.  Writing never abandons us.  It is always there, maturing in our internal oaken barrels… waiting for us to drink again.

I may have a way to go in the attitude department before I’m back to full speed, but I can say this, those baby steps back to redemption are good and solid, and I don’t think I’ll be letting myself off the hook as much from here on out, even as I get set to dive into the next Little Black Dress INK project…

Stay tuned for that announcement 🙂

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