Thursday, September 27, 2012

Writer's Block: personal thoughts about it.

    You might be asking where I have been for the last 3 months. This was the longest hiatus in my posting in the entire time that I have been doing this blog. Well, there were two big reasons. One was logistical. We took a trip for the whole month of July -- a long cruise of the North Atlantic.  We started in London -- did the Thames river cruise, the London Eye, and went out to Stonehenge, Salisbury Castle, and Bath. Then our three week cruise with the Nautica of Oceania Cruise lines embarked from Dover (the White Cliffs of Dover) with multiple ports of call. If your interest is peaked, I will tell you that we called at Edinburgh, Scotland; Lerwick, Shetland Islands; the Faroe Islands, Akareyri and Reykajvik, Iceland; Greenland; the Isle of Skye; Belfast; Dublin; Cornwall; Cherbourg, France; and Brugge, Belgium. Wow, what a trip. A lot of very interesting ports of call. You will no doubt see some posts with photos and stories from that trip.

The second reason for this hiatus is more esoteric. I have been writing this blog as an outlet for my "frustrated writer" status. I have always had a deep tugging in my heart to write -- not anything medical entirely, perhaps fiction, perhaps long fiction (ie novella or novel). I have written throughout my life in day to day journaling, in travel journals, and of course in my profession as a physician. But aside from patient records, it has always seemed like too much work especially after a full day of work as a physician and managing a home and children, to edit and polish something that I have written for publishing somewhere. So it just never happened. This blog has provided an easy outlet for this writing desire. The format and the way it adapts to short personal essays and travel writing with photos has made it particularly receptive to my brand of creativity.  But for the 2 months since we returned from our trip I just have not had an urge to sit down and create. Is this a form of writer's block or perhaps just laziness?
      My initial thought is that I am not enough of a writer to suffer from writer's block. These little vignettes that I publish on my blog are mostly triggered by our travels or by unusual or common place things that happen to me or mine. These posts have no deadlines; there is no remuneration; there are no expectations. So how could this blog create enough anxiety to produce so-called writer's block. Yet during these last 2 months at least, I did feel a small anxiety that I "should" be posting something. I was overdue. My readers, however few, would turn off from my blog because nothing new was coming up. Yet when I looked at the blog stats, there were still the same number of daily hits. People were continuing to read my old work. So that fact reassured me. Still, I could not make myself sit down and write something. Certainly our most recent trip provided ample subject matter. What was going on?

     So I looked up 'Writer's Block' on the easiest source: Wikipedia. As the scientist in me might expect, I learned that there have been numerous books and articles written about this topic. I found a favorite source -- a book by neurologist Alice W. Flaherty entitled The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain (ISBN 978061823065) This author postulates that some writer's block may come from dysfunction in certain areas of the brain. As functional MRIs shed more and more light on what various areas of the brain do and how the complex interactions of the various nerve tracts and ganglia in the brain interact with each other in response to specific thought patterns, I was not particularly surprised by the existence of this book. It will be a pleasant read for me
     I also found this great website which lists 10 types of writer's block. Indeed there are many varieties of this ailment. Several solutions, or practices such as free writing are suggested. Free writing is when you just write without regard to topic, grammar, punctuation, or even clarity. This practice often breaks writer's block, develops or even suggests ideas, and gets the creative juices flowing again. Also inserted into this website blog are wonderful photos of various science fiction and pulp magazine covers, making the site and the read very attractive as well. Check it out!

     I managed to break my own writer's block today. I just began to write first about our travel and my reasons for not having posted for a while. The idea of writer's block came to me and that provided these other jumping off places. I didn't even have to go to free writing.

1 comment:

  1. Just saw your blog and thought I would post to you.I am rather new at this and hope I can get some people interested.As for writers block,I find myself worrying about having a blank mind and yet feeling I having something to say.Sometimes it happens,sometimes not.Maybe you'll come by and look at my blog and see if anything interests you.We could then link?My sister and me also blog but don't want to seem pushy.Hope to hear from you soon,Garry in Kentucky.