Friday, May 14, 2010

It isn't Writer's Block

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been on a break of sorts from blogging recently.  Nothing has been wrong to cause this.  Life, as it often does, has gotten in the way to a certain extent.  Beyond that, however, I've had an extended 'moment' of...something.  I have said it before and it bears repeating that I am not a daily blogger.  I write when inspiration strikes and enjoy that particular personal rhythm, as it works for me in my own peculiar manner.  When inspiration doesn't strike, I simply don't write.  Again, it works for me.  It is, however, a bit unusual for inspiration to be on such an extended vacation.  What I have discovered, over the years, is that this isn't Writer's Block, per se.  For me, it is a pause of sorts...a pause, a breath held for long moments, waiting for magic to enter.  And it always does.

Most writers would label this the creeping monster of doubt known as the aforementioned and dreaded Writer's Block.  I don't identify it as that, but I will admit to being quite aware of a different pace of sorts causing a hitch in my normal writing rhythm.  I also admit that as time stretched on with no familiar burning need to write thoughts out in blog article format, I did begin to question what was taking place.  Being the researching, analyzing personality that I am, I studied this experience from all angles.  Poked at it.  Nudged it sideways.  Shifted it a fraction of an inch that way, then back again.  Walked away from it for days only to return and regard it through occasionally narrowed, contemplative eyes.

Finally, this morning, I had had enough.  Time to joust with this unruly, temperamental, irregular jog to my writing stride.  "Don't worry so much, just sit down and write," I have often suggested to writing students that I have coached.  I know this to be a valuable bit of advice, as it can be helpful to knock loose the logjam of thoughts in every writer's mind.  Once you begin writing, it can magically open up the floodgates and inspiration once more comes rushing forward.  So, adopting a 'physician, heal thyself' philosophy, I began musing with much more intent than I have implemented in the past month.  And suddenly, before even setting fingertips to keyboard to begin the writing process, the thought occurred.

Perhaps we have all inaccurately tossed the cold, sterile phrase of Writer's Block around as a throwaway concept.  Perhaps it isn't a block at all.  I have written in a past blog about the concept of useful limbo, as I experienced that very thing in the recent past.  I believe there are definitely moments in our lives where God/Universe intentionally isolates us in order to forcefully focus our minds in a direction we would otherwise never have time to notice and open up to.  This, I boldly suggest, is that ephemeral moment, that opening up to allow magic to flow and embrace the writer's mind.

I have been experiencing what I would now identify as a mini-useful-limbo stage.  It definitely has not been a block of any kind in regard to writing, as my mind and imagination have been as fertile and active as they always are.  Indeed, there are stacks and lists and jotted notes in abundance waiting to be completed and given voice in blog format.  They just aren't ready yet.  My mind, my Spirit has been attending to another task.  And in the process, I have stumbled across the novel concept - to me, at least - that there truly is no such thing as 'writer's block' in the concrete sense of the description.  How liberating for writers the world over to revise their definition of this moment when their pens refuse to write, when the thoughts refuse to flow, when inspiration is is not a block, it is a sabbatical! 

By definition, as is my wont and love of words:
Webster's Dictionary describes the word 'sabbatical' as 1) an adjective, meaning of or relating to a sabbatical year; or as 2) a noun, meaning a leave or break or change from a normal routine or employment; or again as 3) a noun, meaning a year of rest for the land observed every seventh year in ancient Judea.  (
I think we are all aware that life is a series of neverending cycles, of beginnings, middle stages and endings.  Curiously, I have noted over the years that my own life tends to run on periods of 5 - 7 year cycles.  I recognized a little over two years ago that I was in the midst of a new cycle and with that huge chunk of grander change, I am also aware that there are mini-cycles taking place.  This most recent one has been that sabbatical of sorts where, I am now aware, my psyche has been doing some necessary shifting.  Adjusting, realigning, perhaps disposing of certain patterns that no longer serve me well, and embracing new patterns that have fresh, strong purpose.  This is an inward journey for some, and others choose to physically travel the world and discover themselves outwardly.

All of this is time consuming, but while I am in the midst of the process, time seems to slow down and stretch, as though I am in a slight time warp.  Where normally I might be jittery and a bit impatient, not wanting to lose momentum with my blog following, the stronger pull has been to honor this mini-sabbatical.  In the back of my mind, something is resonating softly but with bright purpose and I know it requires clear energy and full attention to bring it together into a cohesive melding.  Do I know what all this means?  No, I really don't.  That may sound a bit off kilter, as I have dedicated a full blog post to talking about what I am experiencing. 

I guess I could've whittled this down to a few simple paragraphs that said I have recently taken a mini-sabbatical from blog posts.  It would be true, but it wouldn't have allowed me to go on this winding trail of self-discovery.  It also wouldn't have allowed me to write this stream of consciousness that I often find turns out some true gems.  And to be a bit self-deprecating, I admit it wouldn't have been half as much fun, half as enjoyable as sharing my thoughts in this manner, here, with you.  I like to think that many of my friends and readers enjoy going on these jaunts with me in written format, meandering the long way around and about the proverbial Back 40 before reaching the destination.  Some days that destination is clear and I know where we'll end up, but more often the journey brings me to a different 'home' each time. 

As I'm writing this, part of my mind is noticing that this post bears quite strong resemblance to a couple of past posts.  My writer's preference is to never repeat myself - it's just a personal peeve, but this time I'm going to go ahead and give this one voice.  I am posting it because I recognize that sometimes repetition occurs in our lives for the very simple purpose of imprinting a lesson.  Commonly held belief is that doing something 21 times creates a pattern of habit in our brains.  I cannot argue with the thought that a bit of repetition on a common theme in blog posts might help not only me, but maybe click for other people who read this post and compare it to past blog posts that have been steps in this mental reflection of mine.  So, I will write this one and post it and see where it resonates, and what results occur.

This time it has brought me to the realization that for me, at least, right this moment in this past month of curious inactivity from a writing standpoint, it hasn't been writer's block.  It has been a spiritual sabbatical that has allowed my Soul to do some honing and refining.  Where I will admit that I was beginning to question the possibility of some true manifestation of blocking, instead I sit here, writing and smiling as I embrace a much friendlier, useful description.  Not writer's block.  Instead, a pause for magic!  Maybe a lull...but better adapted as a sabbatical.  I like it, and I think it will become a new phrase in my personal library.


  1. Hi I am new to the AB community,and this is my first visit to your blog.

    I think writers block is a function of pressure to maintain high quality and frequency of posts in most people. Creativity and regularity dont go hand in hand.Sometimes I get into a zone where I feel like writing 3 or 4 posts together...and sometimes none at all. So I try to save them in drafts when in the zone. Re visit them at a later point and publish them accordingly.The only trouble being re-igniting connectivity.

    In our transactional lives, we often lose sight of the path we are travelling.It is therefore important to take a break,remove yourself from the cycle and view it from a distance - just to get a better perspective.for those who can afford it it should be done, for those who can not, they should try to recreate that environment within their realms of space.

  2. Thank you for the comment, Gyanban, and welcome as a member of Authentic Blogger! I have written many times that I do not embrace the practice of blogging daily; it simply isn't in my nature. I do what works for me and don't put a great deal of energy into other methods. I find that listening to my own thoughts, flowing with my own energy produces inspiration and content in a timely manner. The greater process at hand is learning to embrace my own rhythms and not put limits on myself. That, as I mentioned above is the space wherein magic is born.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting.

    ~ Dawn

  3. Dawn...
    Imagine my utter surprise, then Joy, then GRATITUDE when I visited Writer's Rising this evening and fell upon YOUR post (yep - FIRST one I read!!!!) ....this after having not written, blogged, or even caught up with my fellow writers since the beginning of MARCH!

    I don't have your email, but had to let you know how "well-timed" this angelic and providential moment was for me tonight. I hope this "comment" doesn't bore you!

    I, too, have not been in the mode/feeling/desire to write of late. Since my site is truly devoted to sharing only positive thoughts, I just haven't been able to summon up the "right words" or feelings about anything even remotely positive!

    Dealing with some very stressful and consuming financial problems, I have been anything BUT ready to write. (I spend a good deal of my time at the computer job-hunting!)

    I've recently let myself start feeling guilty that I've totally ignored my rekindled passion for writing or sharing any kind of Joy. I wasn't even able to bring myself to read all my friends (including yours) recent postings! I began blogging with an original idea that it was "supposed" to be a daily thing...but who's rule is that, anyway?! :)

    Finding your post today convinced me of something - it's normal, it's o.k., it's "healthy" (if you will), to experience periods of this dryness. It reminded me that even on our spiritual journeys, we are led through periods of dryness, only to find ourselves and our faith even stronger when we emerge again. After all, without the storms, how could we even begin to appreciate the sun?

    During all of this, I've been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of soul searching. Realizing what's important, and what is not. I couldn't help but feel especially connected to you in this posting - and feel so much better, now that I understand others have gone through the same LIMBO that I have been! (your description of that was "dead-on!")

    God continues to place people DIRECTLY in my path through all of this - and tonight, you are one of them. This was truly an angelic moment, where God and the universe spoke to me - through your eloquent words and loving spirit - that I'm o.k., and definitely not alone!!!

    THANK YOU, thank you, dear writing and blogging friend, for sharing this post with me, and with all of us. I'm still humbled and hushed by the perfect timing and personal touch I received through your thoughts!

    Tonight, I believe my inspiration and motivation has taken a most positive turn!!

    God Bless! -Pam (at "A Dose of Positivity")

  4. Hi Dawn, good to read your blog after a short break indeed. I too tend to take "sabbatical" from the blogging world, simply, like you said because I just don't have the urge to write. It comes to me naturally and I believe to most of us. But again keep your sabbaticals short as I am really looking forward to read your works.

  5. I couldn't agree with you more. No guilt for not blogging right now...just been processing a lot! I loved the term "mini-sabbatical. I've had so much to process (or try to-i tend to just stuff it all down) and I do the same thing. Not an everyday blogger. It has to come to me....right now the word "pretending" keeps cropping up. waiting for it to take birth. So glad you wrote this! Good for you, me and others! love ya sistah,janie

  6. Pam, what a wonderful comment to read on this post today! I am always brought to such a deep sense of satisfaction and inner peace that I am on the right path when I receive comments such as yours on my writing. What you expressed confirmed that even though I felt this post was slightly repetitive and linked to a recent blog article, it was absolutely the right thing to do to post it!

    I think, as you do, that we are always directed to that perfect place in perfect timing to be exposed to just the right experience for that moment in our lives. I consider the fact that this blog article resonated so strongly for you to be a blessing for both of us! I will look your blog up in return, follow you (because I already love your writing) and see if we can connect via FB or email. Thank you, newfound friend, for such a lovely affirmation in written form!

    Surein, I just love it when you and I connect! It might be weeks or months between comments or FB threads between us, but when we speak each time, the friendship is always vital, strong and enjoyable. Thank you for your thoughts here on my shift in thinking about when inspiration proves to be an illusive creature! It makes me smile to know that you look forward to my writing in the same way that I anticipate your own posts!

    Janie, yes, it is all a process of allowing the thoughts to be born when they are meant to greet the world. If you push, the thoughts can become fragmented and meaningless, empty of emotion. Better, I feel, to wait for the true rush of emotion to visit, as that experience always produces words of beauty and clarity! I'm so touched by your comments on a regular basis and again feel humbled that my thoughts can be a source of inspiration and encouragement to other writers. That's the best! Love you in return, honey.

    Thank you, my three friends, for adding sparkle to my day!

    ~ Dawn

  7. When you start writing it shows that it comes from the heart! I call this gap or pause 'nourishment of the my mind' I look forward to your next post

  8. YogaSavy, thank you for the new phrase! I love that sentiment, and I agree w/ you; we all require that time to feed the inner workings. I'm so happy you enjoyed this post and that you've become a regular visitor. That, in turn, feeds my own creativity and sense of satisfaction as a writer.


  9. Sweet Dawn, I've missed you & your wonderful musings. I know that all things come in their time & you've been busy with things that are currently more pressing. I applaud your efforts & know when the time is right that beautiful voice will sing here again. I look forward to it!!!



  10. Hi Bill, thanks for the kind words! Yep, I've been busy and am beginning to see a return of LOA falling into place. Building new relationships and making new connections, working with some LinkedIn networking groups here in town - and all of it is paying off! The balancing part is that it requires a lot of creative energy and that's where most of my focus has been lately. I'm making my way back to balance with all of this new energy meshing with the old; it just takes a while. Thank you for stopping by to say Hello!

    ~ Dawn

  11. Yes, I agree with you. I don't see these days of non-blogging are due to writer's block. I have been experiencing similar situations, and have learnt that when there is a lull it means I am recalibrating, I am digesting all the new, releasing the old and regrouping. If I don't listen to the messages to stop and just BE then I am made to stop, with obstructions being thrown in my way. At the moment I have a stinking cold. I have given up thinking of colds as dreaded viruses, but think of them as a release of toxin build up. I am detoxing, I am re-aligning, getting ready for the new to manifest. :)Thank you for taking us on your journey, it helps to know there are others on similar paths:)

  12. AngelGuided, be well soon! I agree w/ you that illness is our body's way of cleansing. All things do have a proper function, after all. I'm glad this post resonated for you - it definitely helps to know others experience similar moments, and it's even better when someone 'speaks your language'!

    ~ Dawn

  13. I like the use of "sabbatical" to describe this pause from blogging. I think the very term "writer's block" sounds very negative &, at least for me, puts me in a negative place which makes it harder to get out of it. I'm glad you decided to share this in your blog & allow yourself to write out what's going on in your heart/mind. Love ya! :)

  14. Hi Anahid! I'm so glad you 'got' what I was trying to say! (Of course, you usually do.) I like the word 'sabbatical' much better than 'writer's block' for the same reasons you do. The word sabbatical is so full of positive vibes and indicates taking time to nurture yourself and take rest where necessary. I find honor in that process and a sense of Divine Order that is pleasing. I love reading your thoughts as well, so thank you for returning the compliment by visiting today. Love you right back, sweetie!

    ~ Dawn

  15. That is wonderful to hear, that you allowed this acknowledgement to pass through. I feel that 'writers block' is a flexible approach for many variations of experience. At first it may not be as it is, because everyone has a different existence and so their experience will be different. I feel that every expression passes through when it's meant to, when we choose to let it through for our own learning purpose. Every experience is an opportunity to learn that extra bit more about what we are, even if expression is not the gateway to that moment in time. There is always a solution to everything, and that is evident in the way we partake in life's existence through our soul connection.

  16. Trulyana, thank you for your thoughts! I agree with you that each person has a unique experience with their writing flow. The obstacles, or slower stages, happen in order for us to learn. I find the adjustment of mental approach is key - calling it 'Writer's Block' is more negative and final, and can cause that energy to manifest even more strongly. That's why I was happy to land upon a more positive, uplifting perspective and call it a sabbatical. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment!

    ~ Dawn