Writers march to the beat of a different drummer. They think with their fingers on a keyboard. They are driven by ideas and a compulsion to express themselves by means of the written word. When inspired, they shut themselves off from the world around them -- sounds, food, mother nature, people and the clock. No writer ever left a subject half finished or partially developed. Thoughts are too fleeting and too precious to waste or to put on hold while dealing with other matters.
As long as human scribes have conjured up ideas and committed them to the written page, they have struggled against the inevitability of periods of writer's block, however. The condition can be trivial, temporary or something that plagues a writer for a long period of time. Regardless of how it manifests itself, the infliction is never welcome and can be quite personally devastating.
Writer's block is similar to a water well running dry. The mind is exhausted of ideas and any attempt to push through the dry spell generally falls short and results in further frustration for the writer. It can be the external manifestation of issues you harbor internally and feelings, anxieties or vague notions that are best explored sooner than later. The only remedy generally, is to take a break. Get away from it all. Do something different. Catch up on chores that have been neglected. Give the mind a rest, putting it in neutral if possible.
I have had any number of periods in my life where writer's instinct has completely abandoned me -- no ideas, no inspiration, no inclination to even sit down at a typewriter or keyboard. Some of my worst episodes of writer's block came during the six years that I was required to produce daily newspaper editorials. Pressure to create timely, provocative prose on a regular daily basis has been the undoing of many editorialists and I still do not think that small town newspaper management fully understands that fact.
In the almost four years that I have been publishing online, I have had bouts of writer's block, but I am now in the enviable position of not having to write if I am not moved to do so. That feels kind of good too. After a few days, I can come back and resume my musing self until circumstance again dictate otherwise.
I never really plan to write on a particular subject or sit down with the prevailing thought that I must write something. More often than not, ideas just come to me out of the blue or are prompted by something that has transpired in my day. I may also be inspired by any number of emotions and I cannot rest until I allow those thoughts and feelings to flow forth. I derive great gratification from telling a story by writing about it. For me, embellishment comes naturally; as it does for most writers. It is an instrument of the craft.
I am writing about writer's block at this time, not necessarily because I am desperate for a subject, but because I have been thinking about writing in general for the past couple of days -- where I have come from and where I should be going in the future. Maybe I am trying to justify in my own mind the reasons why I continue to be motivated to write. Why do I feel a need to toss written puff balls into the air when there is a very real possibility of them floating off into space and never landing?
Bottom line? There is simply something about writing that fulfills creatures like me. We know that we are not going to hit the ball out of the park every time we come up to bat. But we stay in there, swinging.
I guess it all boils down to the reality that old writers never die, they just eventually succumb to a case of terminal writer's block. If I get my wish, when I am called up yonder I'll be sitting in the chair that I currently occupy in front of a trusty, well-used computer.
Hopefully I get to complete my last story though. It would kill me not to finish it!