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You can all breathe safe again, for I have returned from the icy wilderness to regale you with a tale of woe. As promised Wednesday, the reason for my recent absence. The scourge of bloggers, writers, and copywriters the world over: Writer's block.
It's amazing what goes through the mind when privvy to a bout of the old writer's block.
As you sit there hoping with a certain amount of futility for just the slightest spark that will fire the imagination; some sliver of inspiration no matter how slender that will plant an acorn of an idea, eventually to grow into the mighty oak of your latest magnum opus, you begin to wonder if this is it: the end of a short, relatively uneventful sojourn into the world of blogs and blogging. Has your blip finally fallen from the radar? Will you never savour the taste and glory of mixing it up with the big boys of the Premier league? Has the barn door shut after the horse has bolted?
Perhaps not the last one but nevertheless, there's a certain amount of despair that sits ill with you as the creative well returns a dry bucket and a mouthful of sand, time and time again.
Maybe depair is too strong a term - after all this is writer's block we're on about here, not a terminal illness - but accepting that everything is relative and putting it in context to the bigger picture, the darkest moments do indeed feel like despair.
Reading through your RSS feed and visiting various social media sites becomes a chore as you see everybody else still plugging away, constantly updating and churning out new stuff. You assume a mindset of 'how come they can keep this up and I can't? Am I doing something desperately wrong?'; Which only succeeds in debilitating the creative juices even more and applying a few extra pounds of pressure to the metaphorical thumbscrew that is your despair.
Unfortunately there's no reassurance within your own mind to counter this, no matter how deep you search for it.
"I think writer's block is simply the dread that you are going to write something horrible..."
A quote attributed to a Roy Blount Jr. and very much a reasonable assumption of one of the factors that leads to the prolongation of the torment that such a condition brings somebody trying to get on with what they do. Personally, the amount of articles I've gotten halfway through before binning because I thought them to be rubbish... Well if I'd have pressed on, finished and published them, this blog would probably be four times as big.
Four times as bad too, but I think I already put you through enough shocking syntax, seditious semantics, perplexing punctuation and mindless meandering. Your suffering hasn't gone unnoticed.
So was it just me, or do others suffer? If they do would they readily admit to it?
Are there those who'd never admit to such a flaw for fear that it made them appear any less valuable or reliable as a blogger. After all, there are those running social media campaigns whose clients depend on them to regularly come up with compelling and interesting content - would such an admission cast a shadow of doubt over their ability to carry out the job?
Does the inability to find inspiration amongst a wealth of information within your own niche (whatever it may be), make you a bad blogger - nay a bad writer? If this is the case then take me outside and put me against the wall for I may as well give up now.
So what did I do to remedy this ailment?
Seek guidance from a higher authority? Call upon the forces of darkness to take pity on me? Or combine both and place a reconsideration request with Google? They seem to hold sway over everything else, so why not my inspiration?
Well obviously I did none of these things: the church roof continually leaks, which isn't the greatest of advertisements for divine intervention; and the local Witches' coven meet on Thursday mornings, when I'm otherwise engaged in Morris dancing and Ferret husbandry. Oh, and Google wouldn't reply to my emails, so there's nothing new there.
So what did I do? Well firstly I reigned in my time spent on various social media sites, just to rid myself of the inadequacy I mentioned earlier at seeing everybody else carrying on as normal whilst I slipped further and further behind.
Then I stripped my RSS feed down to the bare essentials - Just a few blogs that I valued highly and visited regularly - looking to minimise distractions and the ever increasing sense of alienation. Then I locked myself in the darkest of rooms where I 've remained until now, cursing the English language, cursing the written word, cursing Steve McClaren, and quietly plotting world domination...
So did this re-ignite the spark?
Erm... Well... If I'm to be perfectly honest (and when have I ever been anything short of that?), I don't know.
Possibly. Possibly not.
If you've come here hoping for a cure, I'm afraid you'll leave quite disappointed. If you didn't come here hoping for a cure then I'm sure you'll still be leaving disappointed but there's not a lot I can do about that - the quality threshold in these here parts hasn't worked since 1977.
But after four weeks the muse has crept back into my life as swiftly and as quietly as it abandoned me. Bob on.
Hopefully I'll never have to experience this dark beast's icy caress again. Its been a long four weeks, but it seems that writer's block isn't choosy in how long it hangs around for. It strikes many writers down for varied lengths of time over intermittant periods. Douglas Adams was one famous sufferer. Another was the 19th Century poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. But perhaps the most extreme case of modern times would be that of Henry Roth, who is said to have suffered for 60 years.
Imagine that, 60 whole years without so much as a bean. It doesn't bear thinking about. I should count my blessings really.
With a spot of luck and a following wind I'll be back again next week, back on form and hopefully back on topic.
PS. If you've clocked the significance of these here images to this here post, I'll definitely buy you a drink next time we meet