You sit down to write . . . and the page remains a pristine white. Is it the dreaded writer’s block? Maybe not.
Writer’s block is a bit of a misnomer, anyway. If you are seriously ill or dealing with a trauma, okay, call it writer’s block. For most of us, though, writer’s block is usually fear or writing that feels like work instead of flowing smoothly. Discipline aside, successful writers don’t allow writer’s block. We write anyway.
But there’s another kind of “block.” I can’t remember who coined the phrase, but a creative log jam may be at fault. This isn’t a lack of ideas or inspiration. Sometimes it is too many ideas. Sometimes things are just coming too fast. Sometimes your writer’s mind hasn’t yet sorted out one idea from another.
Creative log jams can happen if you haven’t been writing or have spent time mulling over several ideas. CLJ is characterized by having ideas but not knowing what to write, or what to write next, or sitting down to put something productive on the page and producing a jumble of thoughts, characters, and images instead.
The good news is that your writer’s mind is active. The bad news is you’ll have to remove a key log or two to get things moving.
If you haven’t tried morning pages (Julia Cameron) or a mind dump/free-write, it really helps when your brain is aswirl with so much stuff your fingers don’t know what to type first. This is especially helpful to me when beginning a new book as I go through at least a week of other ideas trying to persuade me they are better than the one I”m working on. If I don’t take care of the clamoring voices, I could end up not writing at all. In essence, you sit down with a pen and paper, and free-write for three pages, letting any thoughts that come to mind flow out of your hand.
You don’t have to do morning pages in the morning. If you can do them a half hour or hour before a writing session, that works.
How does a creative log jam look for you? Have you been brought to a halt by too much instead of too little? How do you resolve it?