Writer’s Block: what is it really?

Thinking about writer’s block. Actually an interesting question as I’ve just realised it’s rarely that there aren’t any words or ideas but that I am holding back a vast dammed up ocean. Ideas, emotions, words that are too much to handle at that moment. Just giving my head a break. I can feel it sitting there behind my everyday thoughts. Like a bear in the cracks. The self discipline required to extrude three dimensional concepts or a tangled seething mass of tumbling thoughts and feelings into a nice neat spaghetti line of words, now that is where the writer’s block really exists. It is a block, an actual block, a dam, holding back the billion words, the billion worlds flying round inside me. There is no shortage, just a holding back. The slight panic that once the words start flowing I won’t be able to stop. Nothing else will get done. They consume my every waking moment. The phone rings unanswered. I am late for my appointments. Friends and family cry, “Have you moved to Timbuktu?”. Walking down the street, or taking a shower, the words arise perfectly formed, but once they are released into consciousness they can, so ironically, be lost forever in my crumbling memory dump if I fail to immediately attend to making them concrete. In the time-space from shower to pen and paper they have flown away. Holding them back allows them to brew, they sit in the cauldron of becoming. They swirl in the eddies, in the shallows of the semi-conscious. Sometimes I peek a fin breaking the surface, but I look away. Stay there, I’m not quite ready to contain you in the harbour.

© Janey Colbourne 2016


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