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When the nib remains silent

30 Jul

Before I start I know that all of you are wondering why I changed the language. It is so that I write in German and in English and I love both languages so I’m going to switch between them in my posts. So if you want to read all my posts but can only speak one of the languages I highly encourage you to learn the other. Learning a new language is fun and keeps your brain fit and I know what I’m talking about since I speak five languages! But enough of the introduction let’s get started with todays subject:

Have you ever heard the term writer’s block? It’s a „condition“ which only affects people who do creative work but not only writers but also other sorts of artists. Wikipedia defines it as „a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.“. In short and I’m speaking out of experience here, writer’s block is the worst thing that can happen to someone who does creative work. It is difficult to describe to those of you who don’t experience it and because it is different from case to case but for me it was so that I had the idea of what I want to write in my head but I just couldn’t put it on paper. In my poem „Des Dichters Leiden“ which means „The poet’s distress“ I describe it this way: „my nib writes but narrates nothing.“. What makes it even worse is that writer’s block is completely unpredictable. It can start all of a sudden and lasts sometimes only a day or two but it can also wear on for weeks or even months!

The cause differs from case to case. Some people experience it because they go through a period of depression or because a relationship has ended. Sometimes pressure also plays a role and in this case even students experience writer’s block when they have to finish an essay for example. If they have to write about a subject that doesn’t apply to them it gets even worse. The same goes for writers: If they have to write a story in a genre that is against their natural inclination they struggle to complete it which makes sense. I give another possible cause in „The poet’s distress“: the practice of overconsumption in our world today.  In our world today we have a lot of distractions. How can you be creative when you are occupied with watching TV or playing video games all day? Besides from sports people in the past could distract themselves with either writing or reading. They didn’t have a 60″TV with Sky Sports and a PS4 right next to it. They couldn’t go on YouTube and watch cat videos for 4 hours. Writers today have to overcome their weaker self’s in order to produce their work.

However the most important question for writers is: What can I do against it? Well because we know so little about writer’s block and because it is different from person to person it is a bit complicated to answer. The Wikipedia article on writer’s block suggests a.o.: „class and group discussion, journals, free writing and brainstorming, clustering, list making, and engaging with the text“. Personally speaking I have to say that keeping a journal (or a blog) and free writing have helped me but I would also suggest returning to the things that inspired you to create your book/painting/symphony. This is something that is difficult to understand for people who are not artists but usually we don’t get our ideas out of the blue even if it seems so sometimes. There is always something that inspired us for example a song we heard on the radio or on YouTube, a painting or even just a bird passing by our window. If you lose your inspiration listen again to the song that inspired you, take another look at that painting, look at other paintings from the same artist or go feed the birds in the park. But no matter what you do: Don’t force your inspiration. Live your life as usual, go out with friends, go watch a movie or a play. Because like I wrote in the three last lines of „The poet’s distress“: „But resignation should nevertheless be avoided, because the poet is still ingenious for so much longer and his distress of more than short durability!“

Thanks for reading today’s post! I will try to upload a new post every three days starting today! If you have anything on your mind be sure to leave it here in the comments or contact me directly via the contact information in the „about“ section.

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