My name is Susie. And I'm a blocked writer.
I'm even blocked for blogging. Sitting here in front of a square of empty screen, due to post tonight, and no ideas have come. This is scary and disconcerting, and it's the second time it's happened in a month.
The last time I worked on my novel was 18th January. I know, because I have a list of days and word-counts I kept to encourage me to keep going. So what happened?
For a long time, I've been pushing energy out into my writing and nothing’s been coming back. I've been watching friends and colleagues succeeding in their writing lives (which is thrilling and inspiring) but failing miserably myself.
I have this theory: Creativity, in its best and healthiest form, is a circular process:-
- Someone (or something – like inspiration) says: Here’s a thing. Can you do
- You feel excited. Yes, you say. Yes, I can.
- You go away and do it to the best of your ability.
- When it’s completed, you hand it over. Thank you, they say. I like
that. Or they pay you for it.
- And that pleasure in receiving, or acknowledgement, or financial remuneration, is a boost of energy. It fills up the space where the creative object used to be, all ready for a new cycle of creativity to begin.
This cycle happens naturally in every creative act. Trouble comes when the cycle is interrupted, or uncompleted. And especially when this happens lots of times. You start to feel a certain tiredness, a certain emptiness. You watch other people receiving their boosts and a childlike whine begins to hum through your brain: What about me? What about me? it goes. So you redouble your efforts. You send out a few more creative babies into the world. Again, nothing. You retire to lick your wounds. There’s not much energy left now. But you push yourself doggedly onwards. This may be the point at which you realise that you are attempting to get out of a hole through the act of digging.
Maybe that hole needs a bit of filling instead. And maybe the world can’t fill it.
I know I’ve got off track because I’ve so badly wanted the publishing world to want what I do. And that’s dangerous. In hoping or expecting this, I put myself in a very vulnerable position - especially if that’s where ALL my hope resides.
When a neighbour heard about the latest rejection, she said: ‘I think you should just enjoy your retirement.’ Retirement? I haven't reached that age yet. It felt like an added blow. You’re old as well as useless. But perhaps she had a point. Sometimes we need to retire. Retire gracefully from the one-pointed need to be published at all costs. At least for a bit. Work on filling that empty hole I’ve been so busy digging. Remember that what I do has worth, to me - even if not to ‘them out there’.
And maybe, one day… hell, you never know.