I have often pondered what this is, and always hoped it would never affect me.
Well, I have a cold at the moment and I feel it is beyond me to write anything intelligible.
Is this, I wonder, what people might consider a form of writers block? After all it is not that I cannot physically put pen to paper – no, my fingers still work – it is more the belief that I cannot write anything that will be worth reading.
And there I think is the nub of ‘writers block’, which becomes much more comprehensible if we rephrase it ‘the belief of not being good enough’.
Before I moved to Greece, in my psychotherapy practice, this underlying feeling of ‘not being good enough’ often accompanied presented issues, though it was seldom recognised as a problem in itself. Instead the individuals I am thinking of came with statements that suggested that ‘life’ was thwarting them and preventing them from getting where they wanted, and deserved, to be and that obstacles (often partners) stood in the way to the progress they expected to make.
There was a sense of frustration and hopelessness.
But these were capable, creative and intelligent people!
On closer investigation, and following a lot of hard work on their behalf, it was revealed that as they reached one ambitious target they would create another, each time setting something that they believed was just beyond their reach. This (subconscious) strategy confirmed again and again that they were ‘just not good enough’ to succeed.
By the time they came to me they were exhausted by their own high standards and at a point where they felt that if I could not ‘solve’ their issues, they were justified in giving up. As if to back up these thoughts, the clients I am recalling stopped using every waking hour to struggle towards these out of reach ambitions and they suddenly found themselves with a great deal of free time which they filled watching television or endlessly walking the dog, or some other equally unsatisfying pastime.
But it did not take long for these hours to be filled more constructively. One took up dress making, another took to dabbling with inventions in his garage, constructing ideas that had been roaming around in his head for some time.
You can probably see what was going on now…
It only took a small amount of investigation to find that their ambitious heights had never really been self motivated. One was a ‘mothers dream’ as well as an attempt to keep up with a sibling.
Another was a spouse’s expectation and both were (worse and worse but increasingly common), a social expectation in order to live the ‘glamorous’ modern life.
Once these internal constructions began to crumble they quickly recognised that their own, more heartfelt dreams were very different, much more easily achieved, and far more satisfying. Feelings of not being good enough disappeared and they said goodbye to me as they set off to follow new and remarkably different life styles.
So, back to my writers block that I have because of this cold. It is true that I do not feel up to the focused work it takes to live through a character’s eyes and write down their story as part of a novel.
Today that is firmly beyond my reach. It requires energy that I do not have. But if I moderate my expectations and instead ask myself what I can manage, (like a six hundred word blog entry perhaps?) somehow I no longer feel that the world is overwhelming me, my blocked nose does not seem to be the inconvenience I thought it was, and the words have flown through my pen and culminate with a satisfactory full stop.