Drought Tolerance

I won’t call it writer’s block.  When you’re just starting out that may be what it feels like. But I’ve been through these over the years, and somehow (I’m not sure how or why), at some point, I get new ideas and enthusiasm.  I just call the fallow times in between dry spells.  For me, the important thing is not to panic, and also to continue with writing related activities.  That’s one of the reasons I read poetry during these periods.  It makes me feel connected and not infrequently generates my own new work.  I fill my life if possible with other art forms, especially music and plays.  I try to build in new experiences and meet new people.  I try to give myself alone time to ponder.  I think this is part of what Julia Cameron calls “filling the well.” 

During one long spell, when it took me 10 years to finish a short story, which eventually got published, I leaned heavily on The Artist’s Way.  Most of you will be familiar with the Julia Cameron book.  Even though I was mentally and emotionally drained by work and personal stresses, doing the morning pages at least made me feel like I was still writing something, still somehow staying connected to my goals.  I couldn’t allow myself to give up, no matter how badly things seem to be going. 

It helps to have or cultivate faith and acceptance.  No point in railing against the current reality.  I used to worry because I was convinced I’d never have another idea.  Never produce another piece of work.  I’m no scientist, but in my experience panic, tension and stress hamper creativity, not to mention wrecking our enjoyment of the other parts of our lives.  Of course, it’s easier said than done to reduce tension and stress when you’re in the thick of whatever is causing them.  And fallow periods can be the result of other conditions, many of which we may not even be aware of.  Entire books, and dozens of magazine articles have been written about the causes of “blocks” and possible remedies.  Typing “writer’s block” into your search engine produces plenty of suggestions.  They may help or they may not.  Each writer has to find out what works for herself.  Until then, work on developing “drought tolerance.”   

About Lida Bushloper

writer and poet
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