What Blocks Your Writing?

Is there an aspect of your writing in which you feel blocked? (I don’t mean “writer’s block” when you can’t think of anything to write. I’m talking about some specific part of your writing that is holding you back, locking the gate—for good … or not). Do you wonder what is causing that? Do you wonder if you could change it—or whether you even dare to?

Me, I have trouble with developing characters. I mean, fellow writers tell me, “Oh, you just start writing, and the character will guide you. The character will take you places you never expected. The character will reveal him or herself. Just let go and follow the character’s lead as you write.” Yeah, okay. Only… How do I do that? And is that okay? What if the character is taking me somewhere I shouldn’t follow?

Does this mean pushing my personal, conscious ego and mind out of the way so as to step into my character’s shoes, into my character’s mind; to live my character’s experience and life? And if so, why am I afraid of that?

There’s this voice in my head—in my heart, maybe—that’s warning that I’ll be “opening myself” to outside “forces” (spiritual ones … “principalities and powers” …) that might come in and cause havoc. Yes, I can see how my upbringing—and hence beliefs that have stuck with me all my life, even when I’ve tried to push  back against them, argue, rebel, whatever—may be in some ways quite responsible for my inability to get out of my head and into my character’s own personhood, whether physical, mental, emotional, spiritual…. Well, physical and mental seem safe enough, but emotions and spiritual experiences and understanding have me jumping up and slamming the door like there is a huge “danger!” sign waving in my face.

So … is this warning, this “block” in my writing a good thing, a safe thing? Or does it stop my imagination, empathy, creativity from flowing? Does it inhibit my ability to inhabit the lives of my characters?

Or am I just being ridiculous? Just need to get over it, get past the block? What do you think?

Have you experienced blocks like this? How are you blocked? What do you do about it? Thoughts?

(And yes, I’m a bit apprehensive about posting this … but I’m wondering if it might be something that others can relate to? Yikes. Hitting that “publish” button. We’ll see.)

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One thought on “What Blocks Your Writing?

  1. aggiestevens says:

    Have you ever, as a little girl, made a crown of flowers and pretended to be a princess? Or draped an old towel over your shoulders to become Superman or a fairy? When playtime – pretend time – is over, you put the costume away. See where I’m going with this? You know you’re not really that particular princess or fairy, you only took on that persona for a specific time. Yes, I’ve sometimes longed to be a character I’ve created, but at the end of the book, I say good-bye to her. I am me.


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