Circumstantial Writer’s Block

Y’all, I’ve got writer’s block. It’s self-diagnosed, of course, but the symptoms are clear: creative lethargy, stuffy thoughts, stale ideas. It’s something that every writer experiences at one point or another, but that’s no comfort when all a person wants to do is create!

Sometimes writer’s block comes out of nowhere. Like a summer cold, or an unwanted case of the hives, it just shows up. But other times, it’s the result of a circumstance – some sort of physiological, emotional, or environmental shift that jars the writer away from his or her creative groove. While I have experienced the first kind of writer’s block many times in my life, the bout I’m experiencing now seems to be more circumstantial than anything else.

Earlier this year, I moved into a home that required many renovations, all of which consumed most of my time and energy. By the time I finally finished piecing together my office – my beloved writing space – I was all tapped out of creative zeal. The ideas I had jotted down before the move meant nothing to me, and try as I might, I couldn’t write so much as a decent sentence. I had a beautiful workspace, but nothing to work on.

Of course, a big part of the problem was the move itself. As a person with a lot of anxiety, I don’t always adapt well to change, even if the change is good. The routine that I had established at my old house had been broken, and I wasn’t sure how to get back into the groove.

Now, it’s been well over three months since the move, and I’m still trying to figure things out. Do I write in the mornings like I used to? Or do I use that time to focus on projects around the house that still need attention, like washing the windows that always seem to dirty up overnight, and painting over the nail holes that the previous owners of my home left behind? Writing is my greatest joy, and because of that, I often see it as a treat that I don’t deserve to indulge in until my chores are done. As a result, I tend to prioritize those dirty windows and nail holes, though in my heart, for the sake of my sanity, I know I need to be writing. But it’s just so hard when there are so many other things to do – unpleasant things that I’ve convinced myself NEED to be done before I can “relax” and let my creative juices flow.

To top off this dutiful (albeit irrational) tendency, I was recently diagnosed with anemia – a condition that, among other things, causes weariness, lethargy, and difficulties concentrating. No wonder I’ve been struggling to come up with new ideas! Even at times when I do allow myself to sit down and write, I can’t concentrate on any one thing for very long without feeling drained. (Even writing this post is taking longer than it should!) The good news is that I am now taking supplements to combat the condition. In a few more weeks, I should be feeling much better. Physically. So what about that pesky writer’s block? Isn’t there a supplement I can take for that?

Probably. With all of the herbal energy drinks and “brain boosters” on the market, I’m sure there’s something I could take to, at the very least, help me concentrate on my words. But the root of the problem will still be there, which for me, seems to stem from my schedule. Before I moved, I had a very strict writing routine that I stuck to EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Now, with the dirty windows and whatnot, everything is all willy-nilly. That’s why this month, I am hereby choosing to treat my writer’s block with action. I will establish a brand new routine, stick to it, and carry on as if the move never even happened. Sure, it’ll probably take my brain some time to adjust. And my first few projects will likely be duds. But that’s okay, because at least I’ll be writing! And eventually, the perfect words will come.