“I enjoy reading about Little Diana, but can you write something past puberty?” commented a critique partner after reading yet another missive about my early years from age six to fourteen.
I was taken aback, as I was not yet used to his frank personality. However, once I recovered, I realized that he had voiced what I had failed (refused?) to consciously acknowledge: I was stuck.
Around the same time, another critique group member wrote on one of my submissions, “You need to write about your mother,” to which I immediately bristled to myself, Why? Haven’t years and years of therapy been enough?? Convinced that I was “finished” with my past issues, I put my critique members’ comments out of my mind.
And my writing remained stuck.
Five months later, this same critique member says to me again, “You need to write about your mother.” Do I? This time, rather than raise my hackles, I was willing to consider the possibility that she was right. Is this why I can’t write past my puberty years?
Even so, I don’t want to go back to that chapter in my life. Yet I know that my writing will remain in a holding pattern until I do. I need to unearth what I’m clinging to, resisting, or trying to figure out and, most importantly, why.
I have read many articles on how to overcome writer’s block, or how to get “unstuck.” Although they have offered helpful advice and techniques, my experience is that none of these work until I ask myself two questions: “What can’t I get past? And why?”
I’ve found that when my writing is stuck, my life is stuck. I trust that my answers will come and that I will be able to handle them when they do. And so can you. Ask the questions, be patient for your answers to come–for they will–and allow yourself to hear and accept them when they do.
Staring at the blank screen or sheet of paper, willing the words to come, will not work if something is holding our spirit hostage. Once we determine our “what,” our “why” will eventually present itself.
Will the words then start flowing freely? Maybe. Maybe not. But now they will sooner rather than later.