What is writer's block: Fear of showing our vulnerabilities.
Think about it: every time we describe our character’s fear, or sadness, or rejection etc, we’re really
describing our own. That takes huge courage to expose that to the world. The writer Goethe said: Every
author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.
Certainly there have been many times when I’ve had a character say something like: “I hate throwing
parties, because I’m terrified nobody’ll turn up”, and even as I’m doing that I’m thinking, Maybe I’m
the only person who worries about that. Maybe when my readers see this they’ll think, how strange that
somebody should experience that. Obviously Tracy thinks that - I’d never have thought that of her.
Yes, at some level I know that most people are vulnerable, and that surely I’m not the only person who
feels that. But I might be!
So that’s scary. It requires so much courage to write that down. But it’s essential. The more your
character shares her vulnerabilities and fears, the more the reader will identify with her (caveat: within
reason, done well. Nobody wants to read about a total jellyfish of a wimp!). A character who breezes
through life, totally confident, never a concern or a worry, will never engage your reader. (And
it’d be a pretty boring story too, wouldn’t it?)
What is writer's block: the fear of success.
This might sound suprirsing, but it makes perfect sense. Success = change, and change is scary for
Actually, fear of success is partly another aspect of fear of rejection - there is a fear - often a
valid fear - that if we become too successful, people won't like us any more. No wonder we don't want to
I need to tell you though that, yes, if you become successful there will be those who begrudge
that success and lose touch with you because of that. But you need to know that that is allabout
them, not you.
It's about their own fears and their own doubts and their own certainty that they'll never succeed and
the only way they can feel good is by making sure people around them don't succeed either. They are no loss
in your life.
Also, you cannot become a success in any field without other people coming into your life - often people
who have had the same success and aren't scared by it. So you will find - I promise you - that any gaps in
your life will soon be filled, and filled by people who are more positive and higher-energy than any sad
losers who reject you because you succeed.
What is writer's block:As infants and young children, our main job is to figure the world out. So, we're
constantly gathering evidence and coming to conclusions.
We are apt to generalise, which is hugely beneficial to us. That's why you can see a chair or a cup that
you've never seen before, and know that it's a chair or a cup, for example.
However, sometimes that generalisation works against us. We take an experience that happened once (and
perhaps even one we misunderstood, and took the wrong conclusion from), and make it part of our
truth/reality/belief/paradigm that that experience is the way things always are.
For example, say there was a little girl, aged about five, who had finished a beautiful painting which
took her hours and of which she was so, so proud. She stood up to rush off and call her parents to come and
have a look at it - but in her hurry and excitement she accidentally knocked over the dirty paint water and
ruined her painting. Her subconscious may well have thus internalised the truth/reality/belief/paradigm
that: Finishing projects causes them to be destroyed, so it’s not safe to finish them.
Or, a similar scenario - maybe she didn’t spill the water, and did run off and fetch her parents. But
they, for whatever reason - their own pain and worries and problems perhaps - took one look at it and
sneered, ‘Is that the best you can do?’ The truth/reality/belief/paradigm would be similar though: It’s
dangerous to finish things.
Our fictional girl wouldn’t even know that she was carrying this belief! It would be so deep down in her
subconscious that it was outside her conscious awareness. But yet, the belief would be there, and her
subconscious would act always with regard to that belief.
And so, because there is a danger inherent in finishing projects, her subconscious, whose job - above
all - is to keep her safe, would try to stop her finishing any projects.
Therefore this girl would find it hugely difficult to finish projects, possibly for the rest of her
life. If she did manage to finish anything it would only be through a huge application of willpower and a
strange stressed feeling. And she would find that the effort would exhaust her, and she would have many
unfinished projects for every one she managed to finish.
So, if that girl, as a grown woman, tried to write a novel - what do you think would happen?
She would get blocked, that's what.
She would want to finish her novel, but it would be (in her belief system) dangerous for her to do so,
and so her subconcious would come up with the only way it knows to save her from that danger - by blocking
her from writing.
Do you see how this works?
We all have all sorts of truths/realities/beliefs/paradigms. Many of them serve us well - but others
So, now that you know what is writers block, I invite you check out the cure for writer's block.
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