I recently heard experts talking about the difficulties in finishing creative projects. Basically they were discussing the effects of writer’s block. On the program, hosted by Studio 360, psychiatrists and psychologists and people who study the brain explored whether or not writer’s block is real.
. Either way, the term has been around long enough to have some merit. As I listened to the program, I wondered about my own creative process. Clearly, in the right conditions everything works. But, when conditions are not right, I cannot write.
All this depends of style.
It seems that when people go into the “zone” as it was described in the show, the judging parts of their brains shut down. In other words, the inner critic quiets and the voice of your mom telling you not to write about that person in the neighborhood or not to use that color paint disappears. During that time, the writer is free to explore and create without boundaries. I’ve known those episodes. Usually I describe them as allowing my characters to take over. It’s a wonderful, freeing feeling and one I want to repeat all the time.
What I also learned from this episode of Studio 360, is that the more you try to get in the zone, the less likely you will get there. In other words, when our judging, critical brain works harder to get us there, we can’t enter. The doors remained bolted. For some writers, turning on classical music helps. For others getting in a quiet spot with no distractions helps. For others leaving the project and taking a nice walk helps.
The point is that there really isn’t ‘writer’s block’ per se. Instead, creative people experience a freeing of their minds whereby they can soar. It’s an honor to get there. Runners, by the way, experience this when they get the runners high. It doesn’t happen on every run, but when it does, it’s beautiful.
My advice to writers, to runners and to other creative people, is keep working at it. But, don’t try and force it.
That’s why runners keep running.
What tricks do you use to enter the zone? Tell us about your experiences with writer’s block.