Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Remove the Blocks

My good friend and brilliantly talented playwright and dramaturg, Jacqueline Lawton, usedta always tell me, "Jessiline, remove the blocks!" As the exclamation point indicates, Jackie didn't so much as tell me, as exalt me. I'd be fretting over this or that...the academic term is, "straight trippin'," and Jackie would remind me that I'd trip less if I'd just, "remove the blocks!"

What is writer's block? It's certainly not a shortage of ideas, or a temporary amnesiac episode wherein we forget how to write. It is, rather, an energetic backup of fear that leads us to forget we are human beings, even before we are writers. Somewhere along the way, I convinced myself that success knows nothing of fear, overwhelment, or insecurity. So, whenever I felt those feelings, I immediately tried to stuff them down because they were (in my mind) counter to my success. Then, I'd try to remove the blocks of fear, overwhelment and insecurity, only to find out those are some heavy muthaf'in blocks that shall not be moved. So. Now what?

To move out of the resistance of writer's block, and back into the flow of renewed creativity, I remove the only block that really exists -- my resistance to my humanity. An old friend usedta tell me that fear was the only real character defect, all other faults stem directly, or indirectly, from it. My old friend was right, but fear is too heavy a block for me to remove by my unaided will. I've found that I must tap into something higher to do that heavy lifting, and in order to tap into that higher power, I must first accept my humanity -- frailties, frustrations, fears and all. Accepting that I am afraid has invariably been the one action that has the power to relieve my fear.

If you're struggling with writer's block, accept it. Know that your resistance does not equal incompetence, or a weak will, or a bad work ethic. Your resistance only equals your mere mortalness. Accept that you're scared. Accept that you are imperfect, and so is your writing. Acceptance will, as Jackie exalted, "remove the blocks!" and help you Get Your Mind Write!

Friday, September 4, 2015


FemmeMakers, get your mind write!

Let me tell you, here and now, once and for all...you are not an amateur because you procrastinate. You procrastinate because you are endeavoring to share with the world your most intimate self through your characters, and that is terrifying. What if you do it badly, and people misunderstand, and judge, and hate your characters (which will feel like they hate YOU)? You procrastinate as an act of self-preservation. You are not a fraud; you are afraid. And that makes you more than just a writer; it makes you an artist. Accept your fear. Feel it. Then, and only then, move through it and write. Set a 5 minute alarm clock everyday and feel your frigging fear for 5 minutes. Then write. Stop trying to deny the fear or push it down...THAT IS THE PROCRASTINATION. Feeling the fear allows it to pass through, and out of you. Any writer who tells you they never procrastinate...well...they're probably procrastinating by talking to you.