External vs Internal Writer’s Block
There is some debate about whether writer’s block actually exists. After all, there is nothing physically stopping you from tapping your fingers across the keyboard if you really try – but it’s the quality of those words that come into scrutiny.
It’s the refusal of the brain to focus on writing, or the refusal of the subconscious to be creative. Something like that. I believe we impose the term ‘writer’s block’ on many circumstances – laziness, lack of concentration, fear etc. Many of this circumstances are psychological. But this week I have been experiencing writer’s block that has been inflicted from the outside.
This week, I’ve been house-sitting in the most beautiful house. I thought I would get a lot of writing done. But I’m not just house-sitting. Meet Henry.
Henry is the cutest little dog, but he sleeps (and thus snores) all the time! He also barks at night, which means I haven’t had my usual amount of sleep this week. That, coupled with having to get up extra early to drive my other half to the train station, then picking him up in the evening before cooking dinner… Spending most of the rest of my day in a slight trance, between doing freelance proofreading and writing, before taking the dog for a walk… Well, it has made me realise how easy I have it right now. (The riots were also somewhat of a distraction, but thankfully they were an exceptional distraction rather than a regular one.)
Writing while working full time is hard. I have experience of that. But writing when looking after a family and juggling work seems near impossible. I don’t envy such people! I had planned to write 3000 words this week. I managed to squeeze out about 700.
Saying that, I have enjoyed having my own space. When I did manage to get some work done, it’s nice to be able to do it in such a good environment, and taking the dog for a walk every day made me get out and get some fresh air and exercise – something I don’t always manage to do.
I reckon there are two types of writer’s block: the internal (psychological) and the external, where life seems to just get in your way. When this is the case, I used to think it was all about snatching moments of time – but there’s more to it than that. The external influences on writer’s block can effect the internal. How can you write well when you’re distracted or tired? I guess it’s just about appreciating and making the most of the quality writing moments you manage to grasp. It’s certainly made me appreciate that.