Saturday, March 07, 2009

Writer's Drought

I never really believed in writer's block.  Anybody can write something if she'll just sit down in the chair and start typing, and the resulting product can turn out pretty well.

I do very much believe in writer's drought, however, because I've had personal and painful experience of it, more than once.  I'm undergoing a severe drought right now, in fact.  It's not that I can't put words on the paper - just the opposite, in fact.  

I'm reminded of the movie Wonder Boys.  I have become Grady Tripp (except for the pot and the lover on the side.  Too dull for that.)  I have an endless manuscript in progress, but it isn't going anywhere.  Like Grady, I can't make any choices.  I have long scenes that contradict other scenes, and I can't muster the intellect to decide which direction is best.

Of course, I maintain that intellect isn't the defining element in writing, anyway.  Often I find myself creating wonderful scenes or characters, and I have no idea where they came from.  I certainly didn't think them up - they sprang from my forehead fully formed.  I have an intimation that our brains don't create thought, but are more like radios, and only receive and transmit thought that is out there somewhere. (Who thought it?  I don't know.  God?  My higher self?  The collective consciousness?  How can you know?)

So, I suppose it only makes sense that sometimes we can tap into something mysterious and brilliant, and sometimes the equipment is on the fritz and we just can't.  You can't make it come.  You can only be patient and keep trying.  I read somewhere that "more than success, the gods love the effort."

During times of drought, I cling to that thought as I pray for rain.

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