For almost two months, each time I sit down to work on my manuscript the same feeling engulfs me. I feel the room turn dark and cavernous. The walls begin to close in on me. Emotionally, I feel a combination of frustration and despair.
I’ve got writer’s block.
Back in the 1950s, a psychiatrist named Edmund Bergler studied writers with creative issues and labeled the condition as “neurotic inhibitions of productivity.” He was Freudian trained and recommended psychotherapy. Since then, various mental health professionals have conducted research on the condition and recommended approaches to overcome creative block. Many of my writing peers have also provided tips and advice.
But that feeling won’t go away. It’s not that I’m not able to write. At the moment, I hate everything I’m writing or have written. Nothing feels funny. Everything seems structurally weak. The plot seems to be going nowhere and characters paper thin. Those amazing images that floated around in my head have been replaced with darkness. My main character, Dix, was dictating much of the story to me, but he’s gone silent.
It’s boils down to lack of confidence. I no longer believe in myself. I don’t know how it started but it worsened after I participated in The FOLD Writer’s Court. The confused look from the judges was very unnerving. I know I should just put it behind me but so far I haven’t been able to.
I’ve read dozens of articles on writer’s block. There are so many do’s and don’ts. Some advice is conflicting. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no “one size fits all” solution. I tried to switch from writing to editing but that made things worse. I found I wasn’t creating but only tearing down. I tried reading for inspiration but it felt like a form of avoidance.
I think I’m going to set aside my manuscript and for a little while and write something different. Some writers have multiple pieces they are working on. I prefer to work on one manuscript at a time. I have a presentation that needs to be written. I’m going to work on an outline for my next manuscript. And wait for Dix to return and work with me to finish my manuscript. Hopefully, he returns soon.