When I stare into the blank screen of my Word document, trying to put the pieces of my ideas together, I am stopped, blocked, by my own thoughts. I watch the cursor mock me with every wink, daring me to say something of substance. I mean, I have the ideas in my head, and I have brainstormed on pages and pages of notebook paper, but forming any sort of coherent sentence from these dissonant notes is difficult, very, very difficult.
All writers face this at some point. Writer’s block as it’s known to most. It’s the thing that gets in the way, that keeps us from putting our thoughts onto paper. In the mindscape of a writer, this block is like a wall that borders two planes of existence: mind and matter. The mind being the thoughts in our head, and matter being the words and sentences that exist in reality.
Sometimes, if you’re lucky, there’s a hole in this wall, where the mind can peer into the other side to see what lies in the real world. But most of the time this wall is solid, like a sheet of drywall in our homes that hides us from the outside world.
The conflict between these two existences reminds me of those great love stories we all read about. The ones where the lovers want to be together in every way, but they can’t because of some conflict, or some block, that divides them. Like Romeo and Juliet: lovers who are separated by the wall that is their families’ feud. On most days, I would love to hear about a great love story like this. But the story is no longer enjoyable when you’re stuck behind a block yourself.
It’s frustrating to be in this conflict. My thoughts yearn to become real, to exist in the plane of existence. When they can, the thoughts peek through the crannied hole in the wall and see the other side. It’s there, it exists! Unless they climb over the wall, (which is overwhelming) or journey around the wall (which seems pointless) or even break through the wall (which can be impossible by hand), these thoughts cannot reach the other side.
We are limited because of this wall, and it makes us turn away from writing. But once that will to write is gone, the wall disappears. It is gone because there’s no reason for it to be there. But I don’t want to end up like Romeo and Juliet, where the conflict, or wall, only ends when they die!
Clearly not all love affairs end in tragic death. I mean, as you can see, I’ve made it through. Every journey will have its blocks, but we have the means to make this conflict end happily or tragically.
So, what can be done? What can I do to move past this wall without giving up tragically?