Writer’s Block: are you procrastinating, or is it a necessary fallow period?

Some successful writers subscribe to the view that we should sit down and write every day, no matter what, even when inspiration is absent. There is of course value in this, and it may stimulate the flow. After all, as they say, “you can’t edit a blank page”. However, personally I’m not going to sit down and write hours of bullshit, just to throw it away. I know when I have something to say. When I haven’t, then I have a number of options. It may be a good day for editing. When the mind is not in ‘the zone’ it may instead be in a suitably critical state for proof reading and editing. Other days may be reading days. The life of a writer is not spent solely in writing. Ideas have to come from somewhere. To be a writer requires being comfortable with hours of solitude, and although our imaginations may be extremely fertile, at some point if we never come out of the house, and never see people, we have nothing to feed our work. When I have a fallow period, it may signify a need to broaden my perspective, to get out of the inside of my own head, to stimulate my mind through engaging with the world. It is important, however, to recognise when really we are procrastinating and making excuses to ourselves. If we have not written for a while, then a bit of self-discipline and courage to get started with some writing of whatever quality, may break through the inertia. Writing a journal is a good way to maintain regular writing without pressure, and may yield a few gems. Other forms of creativity can also awaken the muse. Self-care is as important as it is in any career. Personally, meditation and walking in nature are my sources of sustenance and sanity, and at times, direct inspiration. Whatever you need to do, do it. Let’s call it a ‘research day’.

© Janey Colbourne 2016


3 thoughts on “Writer’s Block: are you procrastinating, or is it a necessary fallow period?

  1. I go through periods when I’m not drawing or making mosaics, and sometimes I feel guilty about it, like I *should* be creative all the time. Then I reflect that often my most fertile periods, when I have lots of ideas or a breakthrough on a piece I’ve been stuck on, often happen after a break. Procrastination can be a time of gathering inspiration and energy in readiness for a period of productivity.

    Of course, sometimes you do just need to give yourself a kick in the pants.

    Liked by 1 person

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