Writer’s Clog: How It’s Different From a Block and What To Do About It

We’re all familiar to some extent with Writer’s Block, that horrible affliction of Blank Page that dries out your eyeballs and sends you to the nearest ice cream shop. No matter how long you stare at it, the words just won’t appear. A lot of the time, the idea isn’t appearing either.

It’s not a block, it’s a clog, and I need some Draino.

I’ve been trying to write copy for my new website, Youth At Promise, for over twenty minutes. This hasn’t been my first attempt, either. The first couple of times I’ve tried and failed can be chalked up to just not being in flow, but now I’m starting to worry. Especially because it’s not that I’m blocked–I have so many ideas and so much I want to say it’s like they’re all bottlenecked in the pipeline of inspiration.

The pressure is building and I’m frantically trying to get the trickle to become more of a torrent, no matter how messy it gets.

None of the usual tricks have worked. Tricks like:

  • just write anyway
  • don’t worry about what’s coming out just type
  • pick a starting point and refine it later
  • do something else for awhile
  • read something that inspires you
  • beg the gods to have mercy, etc.

Nada. Just a teeny, tiny trickle of words and not very good ones at that.

The Check-In

I checked in with my body (not because I’m smart but because it was kind of screaming) and noticed how tight it was feeling, especially in my chest. I sat back for a minute to think about what I needed, and immediately I got “fill the well.” Thaaaanks.

I get that I can’t produce much for others unless my own well is filled first, but the anxiety monster wasn’t having it. She told me I could fill my well after I’d filled my bank account, which required actually writing copy so I’d have some way to connect with people who would like to hire my help. I responded that I couldn’t do two things at once, especially when those two things added up to a Catch 22. I’m not too happy with the number two right now (note to self: better skip Sesame Street today in case that’s the sponsoring number).

And that’s when I had the brilliant idea to turn my  struggle into a post for this site, the one that’s about wordsmithing.

Now it’s time to play: How is a Clog not like a Block?

Because I know I’m not the only one with writer’s block out there. However, this is the first I’ve heard of writer’s “clog.” I thought I’d explore the differences here and hopefully come up with some ideas for de-clogging along the way.

A block is absolute; there is absolutely nothing coming through. On one side sits you, pen to blank sheet or  unmoving fingers to keyboard. On the other? Ideas, inspiration, words, thoughts, phrases.

A clog is somewhat malleable; anything from a trickle of words to a steady (yet incomplete) flow is coming through. There is still movement.

A block can be dissolved, hacked away at, ignored, etc. Most especially, it can be researched. Google “writer’s block” and you could get lost for days absorbing sound advice.

A clog can also be dissolved or ignored, but it has to be approached differently. Google “writer’s clog” and you’ll get “did you mean writer’s blog?” Thanks Big G, but no. You’ll also get redirected to block, but in my opinion that’s just not the same thing.

A block can be a sign that you need to go in another direction.

A clog can be a sign that your writing space is not adhering to the correct feng shui. I’m only kind of kidding about that because we’ve been having plumbing problems in our house lately and I think it’s more than a coincidence.

I did not see that coming.

Actually, I’m learning that a clog is a form of protection. My clogged pipe is there because I haven’t figured out how to control the flow of Divine information yet. If all was flowing freely I’d quickly be overwhelmed and would probably find the only way to stop the deluge would be to block it. And what does that get me? Oh, right.

This is surprising, yet very helpful, news. Before I go looking for the right type of de-clogging agent, I need to make sure I have the right hardware at the faucet level. But what exactly does that look like?

Dedicated writing times.

Containers for writing for this site and for the new one.

Taking my time with the new one and acknowledging the magnitude of it. After all, finding your true passion and then trying to capture it in words that will connect with your Right People is a scary proposition.

It needs space. It needs collages. It needs free association. It needs safety. Worrying about getting it done already so you can start the flow of cash in exchange for deeply felt service is not providing safety.

* * *
I am nowhere near done playing with all of this. So why don’t you play with me?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments, be they in the form of poetry, phrases, questions or anything else. I’d love to do a follow up to this including the feedback from my readers!

9 Comments

  1. Maybe you need to try Grama’s Seneca! JK, JK, JK!!!!

    Reply
    • Actually, I think you mean Senna and I’ve been using it for awhile :).

      Reply
    • Ah, yes. Some ideas need to be worked on indirectly, and sometimes the thing I think is the Next Step actually isn’t. Maybe the copy for my new site just isn’t ready to be written yet. I’m still working out tech issues so I have some time.

      Reply
  2. I love the idea that the clog is helping you control the flow of Divine information. Wow.
    And you are reminding me of something I learned from Havi at one of her Rally’s. Follow the detours and the rabbit holes. Rather than pushing hard to get a good flow going, follow the meandering path of the little trickle. And trust that in the detours, there is wisdom and inspiration.
    Thanks for this distinction. Such a gentle way to cope with this issue…

    Reply
    • Actual permission to go down rabbit holes? How fantastic! How right you are about the wisdom in detours; I’ve been getting little course corrections all day.

      Reply
  3. I’ve never thought of it this way, but a ‘clog’ is exactly what I’ve got! There’s just so much I want/need to say, every time I start I get overwhelmed, and the little bit that I DO manage to write just feels so lackluster compared to what I’m feeling!

    Which makes me think that maybe what I need to be doing right now is spending more time just sitting with what I’m feeling; like maybe I can’t put it into words yet because I was in such a rush to verbalize, that I haven’t given myself time to actually experience it…

    Which reminds me that one of my lessons from last year was that bad things happen when I try to push, rather than letting things flow… or at least, not always bad, but definitely not the good that I wanted 😉

    Thank you!
    Heidi´s last blog post ..Loving Patience… a work in progress

    Reply
    • So glad this connected for you! I think you’re so right about taking time to sit with ideas. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

      Reply
  4. Yeah, I meant Senna!! The straight and narrow path is not so interesting as the rabbit holes and detours Pearl mentioned. And something else she said about following the trickle inspired this thought. I watched a video of the recent floods in Australia, as an overflowing creek became a racing torrent, washing away cars and trucks and all else in its path. In the same way, if the words come rushing out of us, they might wash away the ideas residing along the edges of our minds, but a trickle lets those ideas develop more fully, at a more reasonable pace. Rather than mud and dirt and debris left behind by a flood, the trickle waters the seeds so they can blossom.
    mom´s last blog post ..Tuesday’s Tip 14- BECAUSE and THEY

    Reply

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